After saving up for a year and a half, photographer Jesse Hunter quit his day job as a designer and embarked on an 18-month trip around the world. As he clocked up air miles, Jesse began to notice that he’d been taking a lot of pictures of dogs — a concept that he flipped into an art book.
Titled All the Dogs in the World, the project presents canines across the globe in their natural (and often exotic) habitat, like ambling along a hidden alley in Greece, cavorting around a Moroccan market, or just hanging out down in Australia.
With the book now available to purchase (along with a companion cat-themed version), I spoke to Jesse about the origins of his canine-themed photography project, the most dog-crazed countries he visited, and a lucky escape he and his traveling partner experienced along the Ecuador/Peru border.
Dogster: What inspired you to create a book of photos of dogs all around the world?
Jesse Hunter: My partner and I quit our design jobs in Melbourne, Australia, and took off on a world adventure with no particular plan in mind and no time frame to be away. All I knew is that I wanted to take lots of photos everywhere we visited.
Early in the trip, I noticed there were some patterns to the photos I was taking – lots of dogs, cats, love hearts, smiley faces, windows, and people. I tend to be a little on the OCD side of life, so whenever I saw a dog, a cat, a heart shape, an interesting window, or fascinating face, I had to get that photo — it didn’t matter if I was running super late to catch a plane to another country or a boat for a snorkeling tour with whale sharks.
Was there one particular early photo that really set the tone of the project?
Our trip started briefly in London, then straight onto Morocco for a month. Morocco is cat heaven: The cats I met and photographed, particularly in Chefchaouen, really got me hooked on not just interacting with the cute floofs but also trying to photograph them in the most interesting way possible.
After Morocco, we popped over to Spain for a few weeks. Walking along the Camino De Santiago, I met some beautiful puppers that gave me the same feeling and excitement as the cats in Chefchaouen did.
At this stage, though, I still had no thought of assembling these photos into books. I just enjoyed the interaction with the awesome kitties and doggos I was meeting. It wasn’t until after meeting cats and dogs in 44 countries that I had the idea of making books.
What were some of the most exotic places you photographed dogs?
In Peru, I saw some really interesting dogs in the Amazon Jungle and near the Amazon River. Oh, and I got to hold a sloth! Along the Bolivia/Chile border, it was strange seeing a dog at the border in the middle of miles and miles of red dirt hills and colored lakes.
As you carried on with your travels, which countries seemed to be the most obsessed with dogs?
The most dog-loving countries I visited were definitely Greece and Turkey.
As you photographed more and more dogs and cats, did you begin to notice big differences in their demeanor and personalities?
Cats are definitely more aloof, precise, and weary in the way they approach you, whereas dogs are the opposite — they are generally so ecstatic to see you and run up to you for pats and love.
Did this change the way you began to photograph dogs as opposed to cats?
Yeah, it was often trickier to get a good photo of the cats as they can be so quick to run away. The dogs on the other hand want to be so close to you, which actually presented its own challenge in trying to get some distance to take a decent shot without it being blurry!
Who’s the dog on the cover of the book? Why did you select that particular dog?
The cover dog’s name is Oreo, who I met in South Melbourne and was lucky enough to photograph on a vibrant orange garage door. I also had a shot of Oreo with a bright blue brick background but that didn’t make the cut for various reasons. I love the Dalmatian’s black and white coloring contrasting with the orange door.
Finally, did you come across any dangerous situations while on your travels?
My partner Mikala and I were walking down a street just over the Ecuadorian border in Peru, and a man ran up beside Mikala and grabbed her camera bag, yanked it so it broke, and ran off to his mate waiting on a motorbike and rode off. The local people were so kind and took us into a shop where they called the police for us. They told us we should not have been on this particular street as it’s not even safe for local people to walk down. Luckily I had two cameras, so Mikala could keep taking photographs on our adventure.
All the Dogs in the World is available now.