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Fantastic Beasties

The big picture

Par Tim Adams - 1 mn

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Bloodhound, Manchester dog show, 1966. © Estate of Shirley Baker/Mary Evans Picture Library

A patient bloodhound gets ready to shine at Manchester dog show in Shirley Baker’s photograph from 1966

In 2003, researchers at the University of California at San Diego went to the local park and took separate photographs of 50 dog owners and their pets. They then asked a random group of observers to match the canines with their owners. They managed to do so with a very significant degree of accuracy, proving once and for all the anecdotal wisdom that people tend to choose four-legged friends in their own image.

Shirley Baker’s photographs demonstrated that fact 40 years before the Californian experiment. Baker, born in Salford in 1932, has become most celebrated for her poignant, snatched documentary photographs of the years of slum clearance. She also had a mischievous eye for the idiosyncrasies of the post war English and their hobbies.

Baker first took her camera to the Manchester ...

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