Every year, there’s a competition held in Petaluma, California, to discover and crown the ugliest dog in the world. Petaluma-based photographer Ramin Rahimian attended the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest this year and shot portraits of the 27 dogs as they flaunted their hairlessness, strange hairdos, crazy eyes, strange expressions, and floppy tongues.
Rahimian set up a black backdrop and some studio lighting near the show stage and invited the owners to have their dogs pose for beauty (or… ugly?) shots.
“Despite the lighting, I find humor in the portraits,” Rahimian tells PetaPixel. “They are of slightly off moments and a little quirky. I would say that those are the type of portraits I am attracted to and try to make.”
The winner of this year’s contest (and the $1,500 grand prize) was Quasi Modo, a dog born with a short spine that makes him look like a hyena. He “epitomized excellence in ugliness,” writes Chief Judge Brian Sobel.
Here are some of the other dogs that competed in this year’s contest:
“This was a personal project I took on in my own town,” Rahimian says. “Being a work-from-home dad leaves me, unfortunately, with little time to come up with doable self-assigned photo projects.”
“I had always heard about the contest and knew that one day I would shoot it in some form. I researched images taken at the contest from past years, and I felt I could do some nice portraits of the dogs and really focus on their ugly (beautiful) faces.”
You can find more of Rahimian’s work on his website.
Image credits: Photographs by Ramin Rahimian and used with permission