thomas roma's shadow portraits of dogs look like cave drawings
thomas roma's shadow portraits of dogs look like cave drawings thomas roma's shadow portraits of dogs look like cave drawings
mar 24, 2015

thomas roma's shadow portraits of dogs look like cave drawings

thomas roma’s shadow portraits of dogs look like crude cave drawings
all images by thomas roma / courtesy of the howard greenberg gallery




in its raw simplicity, thomas roma‘s ‘mondo cane’ series expresses a primal sensibility. portraits of dogs meandering through a park in brooklyn, new york are revealed — not with the jovial sentiment of hanging tongues and wagging tails that we’re accustomed to — but through their shadows, with a deep and warped silhouette defining their identity. with a camera mounted to an eight-foot pole, roma projected his lens over and above the dogs and operated the shutter through a long cable release. from this perspective, only the distorted likeness of the original breed is able to be perceived, a crude formation that could be mistaken for the cave drawings of an ancient civilization.





‘as a body of work, mondo cane is uncanny in its simultaneously foreign and familiar depiction of its subjects.’ writes giancarlo t. roma about the series (abridged version originally published in the new york times). on one hand, the dogs look nothing like themselves in the pictures, distorted and featureless in their silhouettes. but on the other, they appear truer to their essential self, their primitive substance, and ironically—given the misleading nature of the shadow in plato’s cave allegory—closer to their platonic form. looking through the pictures, one shadow wilder than the next, it’s hard not to come to view the canines’ shade as their spirit—an outward projection of how they see themselves for those precious hours when they’re off the leash at the park, self-actualizing. (notably, in their obscured rendering, their collars disappear.) some resemble fearsome wolves, some stoic water buffalo, and some a new breed of creature all together, but never a pet, never the animal that will later sleep at the foot of your bed.’

thomas-roma-mondo-cane-designboom-03 thomas-roma-mondo-cane-designboom-04 thomas-roma-mondo-cane-designboom-05 thomas-roma-mondo-cane-designboom-06 thomas-roma-mondo-cane-designboom-07 thomas-roma-mondo-cane-designboom-08  thomas-roma-mondo-cane-designboom-10 thomas-roma-mondo-cane-designboom-11 thomas-roma-mondo-cane-designboom-12thomas-roma-mondo-cane-designboom-01

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,380 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample