Dogs are one of life’s greatest treasures. They love their owners unconditionally, enjoy walks, belly rubs, and appreciate any moment that they spend with their owner. For centuries, people have had great admiration for dogs and enjoy capturing their essence through several different types of media such as paintings, sculptures, and especially photography. Over the years, photography has become a rather popular way of capturing pictures of beloved pets. One can go on any social media site and see picture after picture of dogs, cats, and all sorts of pets. Samuel H. Knight had a passion for photography and because of this, people today are able to get a glimpse into his life and are able to see that Knight himself was a dog lover and enjoyed taking pictures of dogs.
Knight was somewhat fond of taking photos of his family’s pets. A majority of the photographs that contain a dog are that of Knight’s family. One of his family dogs was a particularly fluffy and calm dog named Trixie.
In most of the pictures that include her, she is surrounded by Knight’s children and does not look as though she is bothered by their presence. The negatives depict Knight’s children holding Trixie in their laps or petting her on a porch, all the while Trixie is smiling and appearing happy and content. With children, pets can sometimes become annoyed with the lack of personal space but from the images we have in our collections, Trixie did not seem like the type of dog to get annoyed with children too easily.
Another one of Knight’s family dogs is a fluffy terrier who is full of energy. Every picture of him makes it appear as though this dog rarely stayed still. In some of the photos, the dog is wearing a harness with an incredibly taut leash. A taut leash would indicate an energetic and curious canine, and multiple other images that include the family dog reinforce that idea.
A Christmas picture with the Knight family was ruined after they decided to include the family dog in the picture. The family dog, being as energetic as he was, was unable to stay still during the duration of the photo-taking process. The final image was a nice and clear family picture that included a blurry spot that was the dog.
Finally, Knight was known to take pictures of dogs that were not even his. A good example of this is a dog that appears to be guarding the very first grindstone in Rawlins, Wyoming. This big, solemn dog has no real purpose being in the photo capturing Rawlins’s accomplishment yet Knight still decided to leave him in, which indicates Knight’s appreciation for dogs.
Here’s another example of Knight’s appreciation for dogs. This dog looks similar to a mix between a lab and a boxer and is leashed to a post outside. He does not look particularly amused to be having his picture taken but still stays stationary as he was getting his picture taken nonetheless. There is nothing surrounding the dog that indicates Knight was attempting to capture anything other than the dog. It is safe to say that by leaving a random dog in the picture or taking a picture solely of a dog, it shows that Knight does enjoy dogs and would do what he could to take pictures of them.
Not only has Samuel H. Knight given people of today the ability to get a glimpse into his daily life, but he also gave them the ability to understand the life of a dog during the early 1900s. Trixie was a fluffy and calm dog who worked well with children, the other family dog was not as well trained as Trixie but was also incredibly energetic and always kept his leash taut when he went on walks. Other dogs, who were not owned by Knight, also had their pictures taken. Knight showed people his love and appreciation for dogs through the use of photography while also giving the future the ability to understand the past.
Blog contribution by: Maiah T. Porter, Carlson Endowment Student Intern