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How to Build a Dog
Photo: William Wegman with dogs
Photograph by Stephanie Sinclair
The Moment  Stephanie Sinclair on William Wegman
A Dog's Best Friend Weimaraners are virtually synonymous with William Wegman. He's photographed them in dresses and in boots, as letters of the alphabet, and in their full, natural splendor. When Stephanie Sinclair set out to create a portrait of the man behind so many beloved canine portraits (and the cover of this issue), she was surprised to find his dogs—Bobbin, Flo, Penny, and Candy (below)—behaving as rambunctiously as her own pug-Boston terrier mix. The photographers shared pet-owner tips during a stroll in New York City. "It was a treat," says Sinclair, who's often tackling gender and human rights issues in strife-ridden areas. "It was nice to be able to shoot something beautiful and joyful." —Luna Shyr

Behind the Lens

Where was this photograph taken?

It was in Wegman's living room at the end of the day. The dogs had just gone for a walk and eaten. I was surprised at what good shape his furniture was in. My couch is all torn up because of my dog. I asked, "How does your furniture look so good?" If you look closely at the couch, you'll see there are little dog faces. He designed that pattern, and the fabric is extra thick and stain resistant.

What did you hope to capture when you set off on this assignment?

I wanted to show how much his dogs are a part of his family. They're everywhere—they follow him from room to room to room. They're always waiting for what he's going to do next. They love him; I wanted to show that. He went over to the couch, and they all jumped on; they just curled around him. I think it's funny that when you look at Wegman's photographs, the dogs look super well behaved. But in person they're like regular dogs—they're getting into stuff. The new one, who's only six months old, was always biting the others. They were sniffing everything and going in four different directions.