For Angus, who came into my life from Border Collie Rescue of Minnesota this summer, this is a pretty big deal — appearing on a Walker blog. But it’s nothing compared to what it could be: he could star in a photo by Alec Soth.
The acclaimed Twin Cities–based photographer (and subject of a Walker solo show last winter) writes that he’d “happily photograph your dog if you are the winning bidder of a portrait session on our eBay Auction page.” But while artistic, the project is also altruistic: He’s donating the proceeds from the auction to his friend, writer, sometimes collaborator and dog lover Brad Zellar, to help cover his “mountain of medical bills.”
Soth reports that Zellar has been suffering from unexplained dizzy spells that have resulted in a fall requiring hospitalization and a battery of neurological tests. Zellar tells me he’d rather not go into his condition — suffice it to say he and doctors still aren’t quite sure what’s going on — but he’s grateful for the generosity of Soth and many others.
Among many other accomplishments, Zellar is the author of Suburban World: The Norling Photos, which features a forward by Soth, and Conductors of the Moving World, published by Soth’s Little Brown Mushroom imprint as a fundraiser for victims of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan earlier this year.
Of course, the winning bidder in Soth’s auction isn’t constrained to dog portraiture, but apparently both his and Zellar’s love of dogs made for a good pitch. I emailed Zellar to ask about Wendell — “a shelter dog as well as a Chilean Dasher, one of only three dog breeds ever to appear on the endangered species list,” he wrote back, I think facetiously (as I don’t see many references online to the breed) — only later to realize he’d already written this sweet ode to his canine pal, whom he puts to bed each night with a vow to again “try like hell to make some new magic” in the morning.
Update: Sorry, Angus, somebody else won the eBay auction — with a bid of $9,100.