Two women sit talking: one on a bench, the other on the grass, accompanied by their pet dogs. We are led to interpret this image as a moment of rest after a walk in the park. The woman seated on the bench appears to have noticed the photographer out of the corner of her eye and, comically, so have the small dogs to the right of the image. Titled Two Ladies and their Dogs (Hyde Park, London, 1972) Conrad Hafenrichter wryly captures a quintessentially British scene, drawing out the strange humour of the most conventional of social occasions. This work of art is an example of social documentary photography and is suggestive of all sorts of relationships between owners and their pets. We are led to ask questions like: to what extent do our pets look like us, or perhaps we look like our pets?
Conrad Hafenrichter was born in London in 1948 and spent five years of his youth in Brazil. He studied fine art in London for four years, after which, in 1969, he began a photographic research project into aspects of human behaviour. As well as working as a freelance photographer, he has taught at Watford School of Art and Wimbledon School of Art. Hafenrichter has exhibited his work in a number of exhibitions including a solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art in 1976. His work has been widely published in photographic journals and can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, London.
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