cover image Best Friends

Best Friends

Rizzoli, Priscilla Rattazzi. Rizzoli International Publications, $30 (122pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-1058-1

These 64 black-and-white photographs of dogs and their masters by freelance photographer Rattazzi take an ingratiating look at man's best friend. Many begin and end with a celebrity hug: in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Geoffrey Beene enfolds dachshunds Maximilian and Sir Lancelot in his arms, while at his estate in England, the Duke of Beaufort pats spaniels Lotte and Mabel. Some portaits are more spirited: a man and his dog (named Andiamo, meaning ``let's go'' in Italian) leap in tandem from what looks like a loading dock; a German shepherd stands on his hind legs to receive a snack at a kiosk, mimicking his owner, who calmly sips a Coke. Master and dog also share a driver's seat in a moment of seraphic peacefulness and, in an intimate reverie, a couch. Too many of Rattazzi's pictures, however, lack spontaneity; most are sentimental, conventional portraits of well-groomed fur (the dogs) and glamorous teeth (the jet-setting smiles). (May)