Nicole England is a Melbourne-based photographer, director, artist, author and dear friend. Her second book, “RESIDENT DOG: Incredible dogs and the international homes they live in”, offers a view inside some of the world’s most incredible architecturally designed homes through the eyes of the dogs that live there, showcases 25 of the world’s most stylish houses and the canine that reside there.
Take a wander around these stunning homes with each pooch as your tour guide; from the cover star Willie Wearstler’s Malibu home by designer Kelly Wearstler to the eight rescue pups at Cuadra san Cristóbal, designed by Pritzerprize winner Luis Barragán, we learn how the architecture’s spiritual energy enables so many unique personalities to always get along. Or how much the seven-year-old Cavapoo Rosie enjoys running around (and sometimes away from) her renovated, RIBA-award winning cottage in the Cotswolds.
Just as every home is different, so is every dog. From friendly Frenchies to regal King Charles Spaniels, combined with intimate stories from the homeowners and architects, RESIDENT DOG will show you what makes these houses so special – for the humans and the furry inhabitants, too.
As an architecture photographer, Nicole England found that the residence shoots she enjoyed the most were the ones where dogs were present. Whenever a family’s playful pup would wander into the shot, the house suddenly had the character and warmth likely found when the camera wasn’t there. However impressive the architecture, the dog hijinks immediately brought an element of sociability and fun.
I sat down with Nicole to dig a little deeper into her into her internationally acclaimed second book; RESIDENT DOG: Incredible dogs and the international homes they live in.
What research do you do when preparing to publish such an incredible selection of homes and the Resident Dogs?
Finding incredible homes to photograph in your own city can be difficult, so finding incredible homes internationally was really quite daunting. Firstly I reached out to every single person I knew and asked for help. The beautiful thing about human nature is that when asked, most of us actually really love to help. I was pointed in some wonderful directions and introduced to some wonderful people, and I will feel eternally grateful to those people who helped me out at the drop of a hat. I also spent a lot of time online researching all the award winning architects and interior designers, plus the ones being published by all the top international magazines. I then emailed them, harassed them, and sent them copies of my first book so they could see the quality of photography, design and print; and when they responded showing even the slightest glimpse of interest I pounced on them, and didn’t take no for an answer. Actually that wasn’t really the case. You see, people with dogs love them more than anything, so 99% of the people I contacted jumped at the opportunity for their dog to be the star of an architecture book.
What was the selection process, was it choosing a home, or finding a variety of dog breeds?
Always the home. I’m an architectural photographer, not a dog photographer. The book is essentially an architecture book, featuring some of the most incredible homes, brought to life by the dogs that live there. Sometimes I would find an incredible home though, that didn’t have a resident dog. Sometimes the owners would say, ‘we can borrow a dog for the shoot’ however it was important for me to keep the integrity of the book by only allowing the true resident dog, the boss, to be featured. So unfortunately I had to say no to a lot of fabulous homes. Did all the pooches behave, or was there any challenging behaviour? Generally speaking, all dogs love to be involved. They love the attention, they love a new human to play with, and they love to be a ‘good boy’. Thats why Resident Dog is the most fun architectural shoots to be on. Of course there is always the shy dogs that want their humans to be close (sometimes too close), or the adventurous dogs that would rather run off exploring or chasing squirrels, than staying inside for a photo shoot.
How is this book different from your first edition of Resident Dog?
Resident Dog book 1 is all about Australian architecture whereby Resident Dog 2 is all international. I think I definitely learnt from the first edition and grew as a photographer and author. With the second edition I focussed more on showcasing my photography rather than every corner of the house. I looked for more poetic observations than pure documentation. So I think as a result the imagery is much stronger. There is also a beautifully written chunk of text at the beginning of each feature, written by a very talented writer who thread the language of architecture with the hilarious stories of the resident dogs. This also leaves the images to sit on the following pages without distraction.
They say Cat People are obsessed with cats, do you think we might see a Resident Cat book by Nicole England in the near future, or are you exclusively on team Dog?
I’m sorry cat people. As much as I love all animals, I just don’t think Resident Cat would be possible. I know there are lots of beautiful dog like cats out in the world, but I think most of them could not be bothered in the slightest and would slink away and hide for the day until I was eventually out of the house.
What have you really enjoyed about creating books and how many books do you have in the pipeline?
I have always loved books and have a large book collection. I have moved houses more times than I can remember and always take my books with me, no matter how heavy they get. So when I had the opportunity to create a book, I was so excited. And now i’m hooked. Maybe there will be a Resident Dog 3. Maybe there will be other topics too. I hope so. There is something really special about seeing your images in print. I also love working with all the different people that help bring this book to life… from the publisher, the book designer, the writer, stylist, and image retoucher… and also all the wonderful people who accept my invitation to be included in the book. Although, the Resident Dogs will always be my favourites.
Published by Hardie Grant, 29th October 2020, $60.00 Hardback – available online or at most good book stores world wide.