Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lost by Ian Phillips

If you are a pet owner of any kind, this book is almost guaranteed to tear at your heart sleeves. I know that every time I see a poster on a telephone pole, saying someone's cat or dog is lost, I feel for them on a level than only a fellow pet owner can understand.

Artist Ian Phillips has collected these posters from all over, just as the book cover states. They range from loving pictures taken of a pet almost certainly never to be seen again or childish drawings like the one shown on the cover to the left.

It's an impressive collection and as an artistic piece this is pretty cool. However, because I am sympathetic to these posters, I found the lack of backing information troubling. Phillips does not appear to care about these animals or owners as anything but artistic subjects to be cataloged and placed between the pages of his work. I say "appear" because I do not know that to be fact. But it's hard not to turn the pages and wonder, "Did they ever get their animal back?"

That's a fact we don't get many answers to, even though there would have been plenty of room to do so. Because of that, it definitely gives the reader a sense that the focus is on the artwork and not the human interest. Which is okay, I guess, but not how I'd have gone about trying a book like this.

If you can detach yourself long enough from the situation to appreciate the project on its surface, "Lost" is an unusual urban found art project that's well worth your time. The pet owner in me just wishes it would have had a little more depth.

1 comment:

  1. It looks like a great book! If I read it I would wonder if any of the owners found their pets. It's a great idea but I agree it seems like it would be better if the story behind the poster was included. I'm going to see if my library has this.