When Photography Goes to the Dogs

Captured by Steffi Cousins.

Flickr is so proud to be a new sponsor to the Kennel Club UK’s “Dog Photographer of the Year” competition, a contest that highlights and celebrates dogs for all the reasons we love them. We were lucky enough to speak with Heidi Hudson, who is in charge of the incredible photos entered from all around the world.

How did the Dog Photographer of the Year competition come about? When did it start?

Hudson: The Kennel Club Dog Photographer of the Year is the largest and greatest dog photographer competition in the world having debuted in 2005. Dog Photographer of the Year promotes through the art of photography, the positive attributes of sharing a dog in one’s life. We promote the winning images and the winning dog photographers through our world famous canine art gallery at the Kennel Club headquarters in Mayfair, London.

1st place Oldies
2018 Overall Winner, Noa the Great Dane, Captured by Monica Van Der Maden.

How has the competition grown since its inception?

Hudson: Over the last fourteen years, The Kennel Club’s Dog Photographer of the Year has grown from strength to strength having started as solely a UK based dog photographer competition of less than one hundred entries the first year to now recognized worldwide with annual entries surpassing 10,000 from over 90 different countries.

2018 Dog Photographer of the Year, “Rescue Dogs” category, Photo by Christina Roemmelt.

What is the Kennel Club’s main goal for hosting this competition? What do they want people to take away from it?

Hudson: We love ALL dogs – big, small, pedigree, cross breed, seniors, puppies…and what a better way to share our love of dogs than through great photography!
Dog photography is a great way to spend quality time with your dog and can certainly promote good dog training and dog etiquette. We love photographers to be creative taking photos of dogs but more importantly it’s about getting to know man’s best friend really well and spending quality time with our dogs. Of course highlighting the winning images and promoting the visual aspect of how much dogs bring to our lives every day is what we want everyone to take away – dogs are truly amazing.

2018 Winner, “Puppies” Category, Captured by Klaus Dyba

When/how did you first become involved and what role do you play?

Hudson: I became involved in overseeing Dog Photographer of the Year in 2011 when I took over this role from my previous colleague. It is the best thing about my job – overseeing dog photography and helping to promote dog photographers promote their passion for dogs and photography.

What is your favorite thing about working on Dog Photographer of the Year?

Hudson: There are so many things I love about working on Dog Photographer of the Year – of course looking through so many great dog images is a joy every day but the most rewarding for me personally is seeing how much it changed placing in our annual competition changed someone’s life for the positive. It’s not just about taking home a trophy or a rosette but for some photographers it has literally changed their lives by giving someone the courage to go professional or simply improving their mental health after a bad bout of depression.

Why do you think dog photography is important and why do you think people gravitate so much towards taking photos of man’s best friend?

Hudson: Dog photography is so universal – everyone loves dogs and can relate to the love and affection we have for man’s best friend. I think dog photography can be so life affirming to not just the photographer but to the viewer who enjoys great dog photography. It’s a privilege to see how much great dog images can bring so much joy to people’s lives.

Heidi Hudson, Curator, the Kennel Club Dog Photographer of the Year.

Judging for the 2019 Dog Photographer of the Year Competition takes place May 10th.
Stay tuned for this year’s winners, which will be announced in July!

Learn more about the competition and previous winners here.