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The Welcome Rest at Grizedale

PolkaThe Grizdale Forest Visitor Centre offers an inspiring site for an exhibition of Karen Shepherdson’s long-term photographic series ‘The Welcome Rest’. The exhibition will include a number of recent portraits made within the Forest and will show the complex relationships and bonds between dogs and their companions.

The Welcome Rest repeatedly challenges (mis)perceptions and assumptions. Karen recalls how a vulnerable man embraced his large, seemingly fiercesome dog and told her that  ‘he’s a rescue dog – he rescued me’  and where a tiny apparently timid chihuahua jumped off a bench and squared up to a passing staffie. 

The portraits Karen produces are knowingly modest – but reward scrutiny, showing as they do lives enhanced and conversations initiated through dog ownership.

“I make these modest pictures in order to reveal the everyday yet powerful relationships between dogs and their human companions. There is repetition in the location, composition and pose but within that sameness delightful difference too. I value each encounter and particularly thrill in how, without exception the dogs’ (unlike so many of their owners!) always take the task seriously.” Karen Shepherdson

Artist statementArrow
The Welcome Rest series began in 2014 by making sixteen portraits of dogs and their companions as they sat on a seaside bench close to my own home in Kent - a bench boldly engraved with the text ‘the welcome rest’. Since then I have been invited to take the Welcome Rest on-the-road and in so doing have been overwhelmed by how these knowingly modest portraits repeatedly connect with new audiences.
Karen Shepherdson



Last updated: 26th April 2017

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.