Los Angeles Times film critic Betsy Sharkey has chronicled the adoption of her greyhound, Riley, for L.A. Unleashed. Today she has a different sort of greyhound tale to share:
Barbara Karant is shameless when it comes to greyhounds, and that’s a very good thing for the rest of us. A professional photographer who usually has architecture, interior design or art in sharp focus, her world changed in 1997 when she got her first dog and her first greyhound, Easton. Although maybe it’s not so surprising that she was drawn to the breed since the architecture of these dogs is the essence of beauty and function, power and grace.
I’d put in a call to Karant to talk about “Greyhounds,” a beautiful new coffee table book that landed on my desk after she read about my attempts to teach Riley, my recently adopted 4-year-old rescued racer, to sit. (She promises that with the help of a little string cheese, we can get there. Progress reports on that to come.)
“Greyhounds” is a collection of her photos of these exquisite creatures -- both her own dogs and many others who have come through rescue organization Greyhounds Only’s doors--along with essays by author Alice Sebold ("The Lovely Bones") and singer-songwriter Neko Case, among others. Most of the proceeds go to help fund greyhound rescue; think of it as a “buy a book, save a dog” project.
Karant didn’t expect to fall in love with greyhounds when she adopted Easton in 1997. But she did, and soon she had three greys, “the perfect number,” she says, with Slim (the book’s coverboy) and Turtledove rounding out the family.
Easton has since passed on and Fancy, who came off the track with a badly broken leg, stepped in to help fill that empty space, though talking about Easton can still bring Karant to tears. “There’s something special about the bond with your first greyhound, I can’t quite explain it....” she says, her voice trailing off. “I started taking photos in 1999 when I wanted to help give Greyhounds Only a continuing revenue stream -- they were totally broke,” she says of the nonprofit she now heads. It is based in Chicago, where Karant lives with her greys in a renovated/expanded 1890s-era grocery store in Bucktown. (For a peek at her house and just how fabulous a space can be even when you’re sharing it with three greyhounds, check out this Chicago Magazine article.