Immediately following the attacks of 9/11, nearly 100 trained search dogs and their handlers—enlisted from 18 U.S. states—were deployed by FEMA to join the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Alongside firemen and other teams sorting through the debris, the dogs worked tirelessly around the clock to locate survivors in the rubble—images of which deeply intrigued Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas as the events unfolded in the news media. One decade later, discovering that only 15 of these dogs were still alive, Dumas succeeded in tracking each of them down, traveling across nine states in the U.S. from Texas to Maryland, Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas, 34, captured the remaining dogs in their twilight years in their homes where they still live with their handlers, a full decade on from 9/11. Composed at close range in natural light, Dumas’ powerful portraits—reproduced here in a thoughtfully designed paperback volume with Japanese binding—offer an intimate view into the everyday lives of these highly specialized working animals, now sharing the vulnerability of old age as they once pursued a common heroic goal.
“I felt this was a turning point, especially for the dogs, who although are not forgotten, are not as prominent as the human stories involved,” explained Charlotte, who splits her time between New York and Amsterdam.
“They speak to us as a different species and animals are greatly important for our sense of empathy and to put things into perspective.”
You can order the book and see more of the amazing photographs on the photographer’s website here: http://www.theiceplant.cc/retrieved.html