GOOD DOG | Artist's Books
What can we learn from a dog about our human experience? Good Dog is a series of artist's books that pairs photographs of a West Highland White Terrier, named Max, with words of great writers, artists, and philosophers. In this setting, the little white dog is Everyman.
Each book is handmade in an edition of 15 and is bound by Charlee Brodsky, the artist/photographer. If you are interested in seeing the PDF of a book, please email us at TheSpotPress@yahoo.com.
- I don't know why I don't know, based on Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
- The Artist, words by well-known visual artists
- Monster, based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- While the Sun Is Bright or in the Darkest Night, words by William Shakespeare
- Political Animal, words by great thinkers
- Sorry for Life, based on Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I don't know why I don't know
Based on Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Humans continually question the purpose of our existence while our faithful canine companions do no such thing, experiencing their lives with boundless optimism. The photographs in I don't know why I don't know depict Max hemmed in by a concrete environment with little color variation, mimicking the bleak atmosphere of the words from Samuel Beckett's existentialist masterpiece, Waiting for Godot. In I don't know why I don't know, the dog stands in for human inquisitiveness, drawing a parallel between Max's literal seeking and the metaphorical self-exploration that we humans engage in so regularly.
words by well-known visual artists
"Artist are obsessive people. They are driven by a need to create[,]" says Charlee Brodsky, the photographer who made this photo-narrative. Max is the eponymous character, traversing urban and natural landscapes to find inspiration in all manner of things from bricks and pipes to tall grass and clovers. Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, Georgia O'Keefe, Michelangelo, and many more artists lend their musings to Max's reverie which examines the facets of why we need to create and how we pursue our creative paths. Conception and production are messy events in human experience, not restricted to the sterility of a museum, considered here through fine-art photographs of a "living, breathing...defecating work of art."
based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Max becomes the Monster of Mary Shelley’s iconic novel Frankenstein, which provides the language for this photobook. Monster sets up a sympathetic creature—a dog with whom we’re more likely to connect than some members of our own species—as the Other, the despised, the “unfortunate and deserted creature.” Who among us hasn’t experienced this before in one way or another? Vivid photographs of Max elicit empathy for a being who feels such despair, reminding us that prejudice will exist as a part of flawed humanity, but that it’s our duty to continue to examine our behavior, its impetus, and its effect.
While the Sun Is Bright or in the Darkest Night
with words by William Shakespeare
While the Sun Is Bright or in the Darkest Night takes its title from a song by The Rolling Stones, but its text from the words of William Shakespeare (with slight adaptations by the artist). This book from the Good Dog series explores love and the complexity of relationships using subjects that are both unique and fitting: Max and Sam Brodsky play the “lovers,” adding a spirit of humor and lightheartedness to vibrant photographs, while paying homage to Shakespearian theatre traditions in which men played the parts of women.
with words by great thinkers
Human sophistication and advancement have still not created a form of government that is agreed upon as the best course of action for the common good. Political Animal was made in the fall of 2011 in response to a U.S. presidential primary election rife with discord and animosity. Using Max as the “political animal” acknowledges the primal nature of power but strips from it the devious calculations that man adds to the game, leaving the reader to render a fresh interpretation of language taken from politicians and philosophers whose disparate ideologies aren’t so readily apparent here.
Sorry for Life
based on Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Sorry for Life is an extreme abridgment of Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, casting Max as the Underground Man who rejects the world (and, by his perception, is rejected) and who suffers from the questioning of a conscious and active mind. Dostoevsky’s narrator is as pessimistic as Max is sanguine, as over-analytical as Max is carefree. The result is a photo-narrative that turns sympathetic a character who, in his original novel form, was repulsive in his selfishness, making Sorry for Life the type of art that requires us to revisit standard perceptions and question our view of the world.
~ We believe in the arts and that our lives can never have enough beauty ~