A guide to the New East
Photography

A nose for danger: meet Dagestan’s canine bomb-detectives and the men who train them

Share on LinkedIn Share via Email

For many, man's best friend is more than just a pet. As Russian photographer Yuri Ivashchenko came to discover, some of the most invaluable to society are the German and Belgian Shepherds trained for detecting explosives. In 2014 Ivashenko visited two hydroelectic power plants situated on the Sulak river in the republic of Dagestan in southern Russia, where he photographed the sniffer dogs and their trainers. “In this line of work, as the main dog expert on the ground told me, the dog is a tool. They have a demanding job. Their main responsibilities include inspection of the plants, the surrounding area, tunnels as well as any arriving vehicles,” Ivashchenko says. For the humans, the work is no less hazardous. “The trainer must be alert at all times and be sensitive to the dog’s behaviour,” explains the photographer. Their dedication left an impression on Ivashenko, teaching him to be prepared for the unexpected as a photographer. “One unforeseen incident involved a pregnant German shepherd that had escaped from its cage and bit me, not very deep,” Ivashchenko says. An “initiation” in the photographer's words, or a “test of mutual trust”, according to the dog's handler.

More from Photography

Sea change

How a company of female sailors sparked a gender revolution in 1917

Riga Photomonth

Explore post-truth and reality with our highlights from Latvia

Tanks and tulips

A vibrant look at Victory Day celebrations in Minsk

War on Instagram

Merging conflict and everyday life in Christopher Nunn's photos of Ukraine

Heading east

One photographer’s wild 15,000km ride from Scotland to Mongolia

Comments