Pit bulls have gotten a bad rap for far too long. They've been called dangerous, aggressive and unpredictable, even though they can actually be quite peaceful and friendly, given the right training and environment. Sadly, this unfair reputation means they often don't get adopted in time, and hundreds of thousands of pit bulls are euthanized each year in America.
In an effort to erase the stigma and portray these misrepresented dogs in a kinder light, photographer Sophie Gamand created a series entitled Flower Power that features them as lovable hippy-like beings, with flower wreaths around their heads and soft pastel backdrops.
Each pit bull is from a shelter, and in need of adoption.
"I realized pit bulls were always portrayed in very urban, gritty photographs," writes Gamand on Striking Paws, a photography project dedicated to helping homeless pets. "The imagery associated with these dogs is often harsh, very contrasted, conveying the idea of them being tough. In my opinion, this feeds the myth that these dogs are dormant psychopaths. So I decided to take the other route and portray them like hippies, soft fairy-tale-inspired characters, feminine and dreamy. The idea of Flower Power blossomed."
The Flower Power series began in 2014 and continues to blossom under the hashtag #PitBullFlowerPower. "I wanted to see if art was powerful enough to change the way we view pit bulls, and therefore, the way we treat them," Gamand told A Plus in an email.
It's working: many of the 150 pit bulls she's photographed have since been adopted.
The photos below, handpicked by Gamand for A Plus, primarily show pit bulls that still need homes, with info about them and where they can be adopted underneath each image. You can also find updates on the series on Gamand's Twitter, and more photos on her Instagram and Facebook.
Take a look, and adopt a dog today.
Gamand writes: "Finn was pulled from the city shelter (the Animal Care Centers of NYC or ACC) by Sav-A-Bull in honor of the campaign I created and shot for the ACC, because he looked like one of the models of the campaign (Dan, who is Sav-A-Bull's mascot). He is very sweet and loving!"
You can learn more about Save-A-Bull here.
Gamand writes: "Jonas was brought to the city shelter when her owner got evicted. Her sister was euthanized but Jonas was pulled by a rescue. She is adorable and extremely sweet and happy. She wiggled her butt the whole shoot!"
Check out her Facebook page here.
Walter was adopted from Redemption Rescues. "Walter was rescued the exact moment he was being led to the euthanasia room at the city shelter. He is a big mush!"