I have just been perusing some of my photographs from the village of Decontra in Abruzzo and saw the mirror of this little fellow once again. I love this creature and the photograph given to me. The village in which I took this photograph has a relaxed attitude towards it dogs (the same goes for cats by the way but this is another story- I'd like to show you some of these photographs too). The cheeky yappers roam free and muck about together but mostly lounge around in the sunshine. There are many of them. I have known maybe fifteen or so quite well as unique characters and I have only cumulatively spent around twenty weeks in this village over ten years or so (twelve of these deep in the winter). Comparatively, I have lived in an English village in Surrey for thirty odd years and never got to know any of its probable thousands of dogs, which is rather telling (and eminently sorrowful: our ensnaring within isolated consumer cubes is another analysis altogether). Anyhow, to get back to Dreddy, the aforementioned little fellow.
I was having a cigarette out the back of my sister's neighbour's house after dinner in the dark. I was tucked away in a cosy kind of log shed. Hanging around with me were two little kittens of the village, darting in and around the logs. Silently this forlorn chap slowly and hesitantly wandered up to within a few metres of me. I had my camera on my lap. I am not what one might call an animal or wildlife photographer, not particularly having the urge. But, on rare occasion, there is an expression, gesture, or general sense of being, that stirs the soul through the meeting of eyes or connection of presence. Before capturing any photograph I tried to beckon to me this sad but beautiful thing. But he wouldn't come. Slowly I raised the camera to my eye and took a photograph. As I lowered it he disappeared into the darkness. I have not seen him since and I treasure this photograph. Each time I see it I see something terribly deep and mournful yet beguiling. I soon named him Dreddy and I hold him dear to me as I do many of the fantastic creatures of this Abruzzan mountain village. I can't say the same of the neurotic, walled in canines, whom I have never even seen but on occasion hear, in my suburban enclosure in Surrey.