The summer Coronavirus lockdown was bookended by two uplifting shoots at the studios of prominent artist/designers who have become associated with the boldly colourful “New London Fabulous” design movement. In both cases, I had the extra pleasure of shooting them with their dogs.
Adam Nathaniel Furman, who coined the “New London Fabulous” term, was captured in the spring at his Clerkenwell studio alongside his nearly-four-year-old English Show-type Cocker Spaniel Moomoo. And a few weeks back I visited Morag Myerscough at her spectacular live/work space in Shoreditch to photograph her latest work – along with her West Highland Terrier Elvis who turns three in a couple of months.
While I don’t consider myself a pet photographer, it was great fun to create portraits of Furman and Myerscough with their beloved pooches.
I caught up with the two dogs and their owners to find out more about the relationship between design and dogs.
Gareth Gardner (GG): What makes your dog so special?
Adam Nathaniel Furman (AF): She is just so incredibly loving and gentle and sweet, and rather ridiculously pretty, with the most puppiest of sad puppy eyes I have ever seen. She is completely in-sync with us, coming for cuddles always at just the right moment but never demanding them, and otherwise being a highly observant companion that (very happily with a wagging tail) just comes along for everything that we do during the day. But then at the moment we turn to her for a bit of “Moo time”, she is playful like a little puppy, and is so much fun, but she also never demands that.
She is also an amazing outdoor dog who loves swimming, fetch and just endlessly running around in the countryside. Meanwhile at home she is calm and cuddly, and a perfect TV-watching companion.
Morag Myerscough (MM): Elvis is totally devoted, very patient and nudges you very gently if he wants something. He also knows the time. At 8pm in the evening he makes sure we stop work by nudging us to go upstairs.
He does not bark much. Our door bell doesn’t work, so wherever we are in the house he comes to get us to tell us if someone is at the door. He is also very affectionate and snuggly. The list goes on!
GG: How does your dog inspire you in your work?
MM: He makes be feel happy whenever I look at him and I need him around me. I like the humour that Elvis brings to my life. He is also always checking on things and keeps me in order.
AF: I think first and foremost she makes me happy, calm and at peace with things in a way that nothing else in the world can. Just by virtue of that, she helps put me in the mood to be calm and focused. She also makes sure that I don't work too much, because her routine breaks me out of being too obsessive, as well as just generally seeming to have a good sense of when I've been in one spot for too long without moving. She gently paws at me, or sits across from me by the door and looks at me with suggestive sad-face and makes me get up for a bit.
GG: Does your dog come to work with you, and in what capacity?
AF: Moomoo attends every meeting that is dog-friendly, and is often on my lap for Zoom calls, and she is something of a test for clients..! If she trusts them, then I do too. If they don't like her then I don't like them! She did once, however, pee on one while sitting on their lap, which was extremely embarrassing.
MM: Elvis is with me all the time and if I am allowed, I will take him to meetings. He knows he has to keep still in meetings and just sleeps next to me. He loves meeting people and he is super gentle.
See more of my portraits of leading architects, artists and designers here.