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Mary Shannon Johnstone
North Carolina

Artist Statement Submitted 2014

These are not just cute pictures of dogs. These are shelter dogs who have been homeless for at least two weeks, and now face euthanasia if they do not find a home. Each week I bring one dog from the county animal shelter and photograph him/her at the local landfill.
The landfill site is used as a backdrop for two reasons. First, this is where the dogs will end up if they do not find a home. Their bodies will be buried deep in the landfill among our trash. These photographs offer the last opportunity for the dogs to find homes.
Secondly, this location is used because the county animal shelter falls under the same management as the landfill. This government structure reflects a societal value: homeless pets are just another waste stream. However, this landscape offers a metaphor of hope. It is a place of trash transformed into a place of beauty. I hope the viewer also sees the beauty in these homeless, unloved creatures.

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