I wanted to photograph dog fighting in China in large part because it’s a hot-button topic here in The States, especially in a post-Michael Vick world. I was curious if I could find it, and if I did, what it would be like.
In China, dog fighting seems pretty common place. Gambling on fights make them illegal, so it’s largely held underground. I did find a “legal” event without gambling, set in an open, outdoor public market in central China.
The guys I met who run these fights – despite what one might imagine or choose to believe – are very friendly and hospitable people. It’s also important to realize that these men feel that they’re doing nothing wrong. Not. A. Thing. For them, it’s traditional, cultural, social and yes, financial.
I’m not saying I agree with what they’re doing – because I don’t. I went as a photojournalist – not as a fan.
Some of the images I made from the fights – all things considered – are pretty tame. Some are pretty intense.
Ideally, these images would be part of a larger, more complete reportage on dog fighting in China. I did contact a handful of top-shelf magazine editors, all of whom gave great feedback on the photos. However, none of them seemed eager to publish them.
Even several of my friends have asked NOT to see the photos. Again, this is a sensitive topic.
So, for the time being, I’ve decided that this will be the only image I post from dog fighting.