The award was to the photographer and not the dog. But Denise Czichocki from Switzerland captured a winning, soulful look in Merlin, above, to win top prize in the Dog Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by the Kennel Club in the U.K., beating out 7,000 competitors.
“Dreaming Merlin” is a portrait of a 14 year old, deaf rescue dog surrounded by pink magnolia blossoms. Merlin is a Portuguese Podengo, a type of hunting hound.
The top prize brings not just celebrity (and the hoped for commissions) but an oil painting by Sara Abbott, who paints the winning dog at the Crufts show as well as many dog portraits.
Nonetheless, it seems odd to give someone an oil painting of their winning photograph, doesn’t it? In any case, Ms. Czichocki’s photographs of dogs are also found on a Facebook page dedicated to the most popular dog photos.
Many of them, incidentally, seem to picture dogs, like Merlin, surrounded by flowers.
All of the winning photos, including two Weimeraner puppies, which won first place even without flowers, can be seen at the Kennel Club website and will be on display at the club’s London HQ throughout the summer. – Linda Lee