Love is the Colour is a series of black and white images and the work of Australian award winning photographer Linda Warlond combining her inherent love of animals with her creative work in portraiture photography and the charitable foundation Pets in the Park.
In this black-and-white series Linda wanted to produce strong and sympathetic images that would signify the strong human/animal bond. Linda’s passion for photography and her charitable work with animals through Pets in the Park, the national charity she co-founded to offer monthly pop-up clinics throughout the country.
The black and white series of portraits became an important personal project to her from working as a volunterr veterinarian nurse in the community. Witnessing the joy of love, connection and companionship to the heartbreak that comes with having an animal companion. Her wonderful images were taken with people that she meets and supports to help raise awareness of those with companion animals experiencing homelessness in Australia. "The unconditional support canines can bestow on their humans is priceless, but it comes at a significant financial cost and many cannot afford vital vet fees"
"Meeting the people behind the exterior has been a pleasure and a privilege; it’s often very moving. Everyone has a story to tell. I found that many of these lives are much more extreme in both their simplicity and complexity. Interacting with these fascinating faces of our city and their animal companions is very close to my heart."
To get this series off the ground, Linda set up a small pop-up studio and had been given a very limited time to use the space, so the sessions were very short. "I expected some degree of difficulty in capturing the essence of their relationships with this time restriction. To my surprise everyone was so willing to share their experience and tell me stories about their companion. And they felt very comfortable physically expressing the love they have for them too. It was as though it gave them an opportunity to publicly express their gratitude to their truest friend."
Many people have commented on the series and ask her surely if they cannot afford to live in a home nor pay for food then why have a dog that they cannot offer a home to nor care for especially if they are ill. Linda's real life experience in working with so many over the years is resolute in her feelings. The real deal is their companionship, respect and love as they only have each other. Sharing a meal where often the human will go without themselves is not uncommon in the daily life of a homeless person and it is the very companionship that keep so many with the will to live.
When asking Linda who would she take inspiration from in this series "Stevo with Little Brown Cow, AKA Brownie or Magic Millions, pictured here first. What a little champ! Still makes me teary when I see this image" Stevo told her“He saved my life and made it worth living. I’m responsible for a dog, so I can’t die. He’s my world, my best mate.“
Perhaps this is a small lesson, especially when chilly autumn nights draws winter closing in and we sadly continue to see a rise of homeless people and their animals on our streets. Linda’s concluding thoughts on her interview was "Taking these images was my way of helping to make the sometimes-invisible people in our community more visible. Contributing toward breaking down judgemental attitudes on who should or should not have a companion animal in their lives is something I have found emotionally very rewarding."
Love Is The Colour - A work made creatively with Purpose.
All images courtesy of Linda Warlond
For more information or to donate to Pets in the Park, visit petsinthepark.org.au