Canine Close-up

If you see photographer Shannon Johnstone walking a dog at the North Wake Landfill District Park, chances are that dog isn’t hers: The dog is looking for a home.

Since 2012, Johnstone has been working on Landfill Dogs, a collection of portraits of dogs from the Wake County Animal Shelter. For a few hours, the dog receives attention, treats, toys, and a walk – meanwhile, the human takes energy-filled photos. “(I’m aiming) to start a conversation about the ways we view animals as disposable commodities,” says Johnstone, who is also an art professor at Meredith College.

Landfill Dogs has found an audience through Facebook and a self-published book which raises money for the Friends of the Wake County Animal Shelter. Though many dogs in the series have been adopted, the project gives voice to the fact that more dogs are always waiting. “I am a microphone for these dogs.”   –Leslie Maxwell