Dog Walkers

Dog Walkers is a photographic series of portraits by South African photographer Marc Shoul commissioned by the Joburg Photo Umbrella 2014. Each portrait captures a familiar sight in Johannesburg – that of a domestic worker or gardener walking their employers’ dogs as part of their daily tasks.

Philemon-with-Rudy-Ben-and-Jesse-Cowie-Street-Forest-Town-2013

“Living in Johannesburg, especially if you drive it’s streets just after the early morning rush hour, it is not hard to spot the way the past repeats itself. The complexion of servitude is pretty obvious in the city, even as things change. There is a familiarity to who it is that greets you at every traffic light, who hustles money from you at every vacant parking bay. When I see domestic workers, some in uniform, walking their owners’ dogs, it is hard not to reflect on how unaffected the rituals of suburban affluence are during this period of seismic urban change…

Yes, implicit in this series of portraits is social commentary about men and women quietly engaged in a complicated ritual of leisure and labour. But it is also an essay on the unremarkable facets of suburban life in post-apartheid South Africa. And it is about love: that of pet owners, dog walkers, and the dogs themselves, whose love is sometimes abundant, their enthusiasm straining the leash that confines.”

Benjamin-with-Marley-Saxonwold-Drive-Saxonwold-2013

Martha-with-Maggie-Victoria-St-Oaklands-2014

Victoria-Edward-Avenue-Glenhazel-2014

Bronan-with-Rufus-Wolfgang-Road-Norwood-2014

Cyril-and-Chiko-Bristol-Road-Saxonwald-2014

Judith-with-Oliver-Somerville-Road-Melrose-Estate-2014

Edward-with-Frankei-and-Luweegee-Oaklands-Road-Orchards-2014

Willamina-with-Jack-Fred-and-Fluffy-8th-Avenue-Riviera-2014

Dennis-with-Goldie-and-Daisy-Lystandwold-Road-Saxonwold-2014

James-with-Paulie-Lynstanwold-Road-Saxonwold-2014

Joyce-with-Mo-Corner-Westwold-Way-and-Lynstanwold-Road-Saxonwold-2014

Terrence-with-Emma-River-Street-Riviera-2014

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