As a child, photographer Martin Usborne was once left in a car. It wasn't for long, but he did wonder if anyone would come back. It was around the same age that he fell in love with dogs and resonated with how they might feel in a similar scenario.
It was this feeling of silence in that car that inspired Martin's series thirty years later, creating a cinematic yet darkly humorous collection of photographs that look at the way humans can silence the animals they love best.
Of course, no dogs were harmed in the making of this project, but we've all been there, haven't we? When we're alone in a vehicle, waiting for someone else to return. Raindrops might be splashing on the windscreen; steam might be clouding the window. It's a strange little scenario to find ourselves in, and our canine friends undoubtedly feel the same way.
Martin told Creative Boom: "When I started this project, I knew the photos would be dark. In a sense, I was attempting to go back inside my car, to re-experience what I couldn't bear as a child. What I didn't expect was to see so many subtle reactions by the dogs: some sad, some expectant, some angry, some dejected. It was as if upon opening up a box of grey-coloured pencils, I was surprised to see so many shades inside. There is life in the darkest places inside us."
Now you can enjoy Martin's series in his new book, The Silence of Dogs in Cars, published by Hoxton Mini Press. Lucy Davies provides the introduction and writes: "The series works as a deeply felt portrait of the artist as a young man, then, but it's also universal: he intends to remind you of your own probable experiences of those feelings, too. The types of feelings we usually hide."