MONTREAL – With just one picture, photographer Michelle Gagné, tells a story – and she insists it’s one that everyone needs to see and hear.
“People only listen to the bad stories, the horror stories, the big headlines and don’t pay attention to the majority of pit bull owners and their dogs,” she said.
To portray what she calls the majority of pit bull owners and their dogs, she launched #PitLuvMTL.
The project is a series of black-and-white portraits that capture the loving bond between Montreal-area pit bulls and their owners.
Gagné said the goal was to portray a different side of the misunderstood breed.
“So people can see – OK, it’s a dog, it’s a pit bull, but it’s part of the family,” she said. “Some of them were abused before, neglected, beaten, left alone and now they’re not aggressive, they’re loving with kids, other dogs, other people, contrary to what others may think.”
Recently, the issue of banning pit bulls in Quebec has been a hot topic.
Many municipalities made the move following the June death of a Montreal woman, reportedly attacked by a pit bull.
Although Gagné doesn’t own a pit bull herself, she explains that the recent stories and headlines in the media about pit bulls, forced her to put herself in other people’s shoes.
“If someone just told me, one day, you have to get rid of your dog – I don’t know what I would do,” said Gagné. “It would break my heart. So I can’t even imagine what all the pit bulls owners are feeling right now.”
The photographer said after she posted the portraits on social media, she asked all Quebecers to chime in as well.
Since then, people have been flocking to her Facebook page to post their own portraits.
“That’s really what I wanted. I wanted people to join in the movement because I only had 10 people, but there’s so many people that have pit bulls,” she said. “A lot of people showed their pictures with their babies, with other dogs, with their kids, so it showed a pretty good diversity of families with pit bulls.”