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Black Dog, 2018

by Jamila Toderas

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2019 Finalist

Black Dog, 2018

I first met former Sex Party candidate Steven Bailey in 2016. He posed with an enormous grin on his face while his treasured female dog, Bruce, mimicked him. Two years on I photographed him again. Steven was one to get caught up in life rather than staying in touch with his emotional state, and he ignored signs of growing mental illness. After losing the election and having his marriage break down, his sense of purpose weakened. Sitting for me, he insists on Bruce being included. The mental health advocate’s smile may be slightly diminished, but the black dog still holds the fort.