Kendra dos Remedios has had a camera attached to her side since high school. “My grandpa was a photographer on the side while he was in the army,” she explains, “and he taught me the beauty of film and taking pictures.” Her most recent photographic series, Best in Show, is certainly aesthetically stimulating, taking a delightful dive into the competitive worlds of preened dogs and manicured girls to explore their eerily paralleled premises.
The idea for the project was sparked when the photographer spotted a show dog strutting its stuff in much the same manner as a model and was reminded of the classic canine-contest comedy Best in Show (2000), which she promptly dug out and rewatched. “I became intrigued by the idea of dog shows,” she expands. “By all the people involved in them and how they're both hilarious yet bothersome in a strange way.” The entire concept, she observed, was uncannily close to that of children's beauty pageants. “I began linking the two worlds together and studying how sociologically similar they are,” she says, “and soon the project began.” Dos Remedios spent the next six months investigating and capturing the rivalrous nature of each sphere, channeling the film of the same name and the satirical nature of Evelyn Waugh’s novels for the purpose.
The resulting images are a joy to behold, the photographer frequently pairing pictures from dog shows and beauty contests to powerful effect. Lavender-dressed grandmothers cradling tiny dogs are pitted against young pageantees rocking their stuffed toys, while sleek coated Afghan Hounds stand alongside pink gowns and glittering crowns. The likenesses are comical, yet simultaneously jolting as these curious realms of spectatorship are exposed. Amid the back bends, glossy fur coats and eye-popping reds and greens, Dos Remedios muses that there is “something much more precious about capturing these events on film: you pay attention to every shot.” And there's no denying that these effervescent images make for mesmerising Monday viewing.