Meet the man behind our Goodwoof advert every year
Last week, we were thrilled to announce that Labradors will be our celebratory breed for Goodwoof 2024 (18 & 19 May). To coincide with the breed the event celebrates each year, the iconic Goodwoof advert of the dogs walking across the screen is also assembled with internationally acclaimed animal photographer, Tim Flach.
After the Goodwoof shoot, we took some time to speak to Tim and find out more about his diverse career as an animal photographer travelling the world capturing some iconic photos.
What has been your favourite part about working with the Goodwoof team?
“I have been associated with Goodwood for several years. We have collaborated on various projects, including an exhibition of photographs from my book Equus in 2011 and several cover features for Goodwood Magazine. I have always admired the style and elegance that the Goodwood team brings to our collaborations.”
“It has been incredibly rewarding working with the Goodwoof team since the inaugural event in 2022. The concept of photographing dogs from underneath has allowed us to capture familiar breeds from an unfamiliar perspective. This approach reinforces how Goodwoof is no ordinary canine event!”
How do you find working with animals? What are the challenges?
“The thing about working with animals is that there is always an element of surprise. You can have a framework in place, but you never quite know what might reveal itself. A large part of working with domestic animals is working closely with the owner, as they come as a package! Animals can often mirror their owners emotionally, and it is important to keep both parties engaged and relaxed.”
Where do you draw inspiration from?
“My work is mostly informed by painters rather than photographers, such as Picasso, J.M.W. Turner and Rembrandt, as well as the broader cultural space. To produce images that resonate with the audience, you must be mindful of how they are being interpreted. To do that, you must be curious about the world around you. When it comes to photographers, Karl Blossfeldt, Stephen Shore, Bill Brandt and Guy Bourdin were certainly an early influence on my career.”
What has been your favourite photograph that you’ve taken?
“Some of my images I have grown away from, and some I have grown towards. There are, however, some constant favourites that will always hold relevance for me, such as the fruit bats, which I’ve chosen to display upside down with their eyes above their feet. This photograph plays with our habits of perception; by turning the bats on their heads, the bats contain attributes of human characteristics, making them seem both more and less normal at the same time.”
“This switch might also call into question our perception of life and ask, “what is it like to be a Bat?” They become more human and more figurative in their gestures. Another image, titled Horse Mountain, was one I constructed to be both just abstract and just recognisable enough to keep the viewer guessing. Modernist architect Mies van der Rohe’s famous aphorism Less is More is called to mind with the simplicity of the image. It says so much by having so little in it; it is just a white shoulder and mane on a black background, yet it suggests a detail of a beautiful horse and, at the same time, a pristine snow-covered mountain.”
If you had to pick, what has been your favourite project you have worked on?
“My personal projects have always been an important part of my work practice, allowing me to embark on journeys of discovery. Although I have produced seven books, the most thrilling and challenging adventure I have undertaken was probably working on Endangered, where I photographed animals on the edge of extinction for two and a half years. Throughout my career, I have also been fortunate enough to work on various commissions for companies such as Cirque de Soleil, Apple and Hermes.”
What projects have you got coming up?
“At present (November 2024), I’m working on a book project on cats called Feline. I am currently flying to Japan to photograph a crazy-looking Persian cat that looks like a fluffball! It is a two-year project that I’m about a quarter into and will come to be published in the Autumn of 2025. The book will celebrate both domestic and wild cats.”
Spotted our Goodwoof advert out in the wild? Take a photo of the advert and share on socials using #Goodwoof to be in with the chance of your photo being shared on our social channels.
Those with a pure breed Labrador will be able to sign up and join our free Labrador parade at Goodwoof, starting from outside Goodwood House with The Duke of Richmond. Find out more about the Labrador parade and secure your place at Goodwoof next year, where all activities are included within your ticket price. Enjoy a fun-filled day for you and your dog on Saturday 18 & Sunday 19 May 2024.