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Picks and Pans Review: The Dog Observed

updated 09/17/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/17/1984 01:00AM

edited by Ruth Silverman

Silverman, former associate curator of the International Center of Photography in New York, notes in her introduction to this collection of photographs of dogs, "Photography cannot explain the social customs that allow one culture to devote itself to the dog as a pet while permitting another to serve him as a stew, but it does show the diversity of these attitudes." Her fascinating selection of photographs from 1844 to 1983 leans more heavily to the pet side than to the stew, but it does reflect the attitudes of societies toward dogs. The photographers represented include such masters as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Robert Capa and Diane Arbus. A few of the 108 black-and-white photographs are of pets of the famous—Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Gertrude Stein, Edward Steichen—but most, canines and humans alike, are of more modest achievement. While this is mostly a dog lover's book, of course, few people could resist gazing fondly at such photos as the 1938 postcard of an anonymous American holding two animals, one on a leash. The caption, from the days when hand lettering was used on postcards, reads, "Wm. Brown A Trip Around the World With Dog & Wolf. 25,000 Miles in Less Than 7 Yrs." (Knopf, $25)

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