Pitbulls model flower crowns in amazing photography series

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A photographer has taken a beautiful series of pitbulls wearing flower crowns to give the dogs a softer image, promoting rescue shelters in the US.

New York-based photographer Sophie Gamand aims to reveal the softer side of the pitbulls with her series Flower Power. She has dressed the dogs up with flower crowns and photographed them in a colourful light, giving a dreamlike state.

All the dogs featured are rescue dogs currently sheltered in New York rescue centres Animal Haven, Second Chance Rescue NYC Dogs and Sean Casey Animal Rescue.

Sophie wrote that "Flower Power is about challenging myself to approach pit bulls with a fresh perspective and an open heart. I invite the viewer to do the same."

Aged 13, Sophie was attacked by a dog and since then has been confronting her fears through volunteering at animal shelters, taking pictures of dogs and has made several other photo series about dogs in the past. She is aiming to make a 2015 calendar of the Flower Power series, and hopes that the project will dent the aggressive image pitbulls have.

She wrote on her website that "I realised pitbulls were always portrayed in very urban, gritty photographs. The imagery associated with these dogs is often harsh, very contrasted, conveying the idea of them being tough. In my opinion, this feeds the myth that these dogs are dormant psychopaths. So I decided to take the other route and portray them like hippies, soft fairy-tale-inspired characters, feminine and dreamy. The idea of Flower Power blossomed."

Since the series has been released, it has proved enormously popular and the rescue centres have reported an increase in interest. Sophie has created the hashtag #PitBullFlowerPower to invite readers and viewers to submit their own photographs of dogs in flower crowns.

The website tells the stories of all the dogs who have been shot with flower crowns, and many have been approached to be adopted. Over 1 million pitbulls are euthanised in care homes every year as they aren't chosen to rescue because of their violent reputation, and Sophie hopes the project can start to change that.

Prints of the photographs are available to buy at Sophie's website, both in the US and internationally, with all proceeds going to rescue shelters.

Words: Victoria Gray, all photography: Sophie Gamand