New East Digital Archive

Paws for thought: a heartwarming photo diary about a rescue dog and his owner

11 August 2020

Twenty-nine-year-old Gosha Bergal took up photography more than a decade ago — but it only became a real passion after Bergal suffered a knee injury. The accident not only impacted his creative career, but also has brought him a friend and companion: his dog, Boris The Blade.

“The idea for this project came to me from the outside world, just like my dog. The series is titled My Paws and I, and hints at the similarity of the main characters,” Bergal explains. “In 2007, I injured my left knee and had to wear a splint. And when I met the dog in 2014, his left paw was also stitched up, bleeding, and inflamed.

He came across the wounded dog in the hallway of his building. The dog had wondered in from a building site where he’d been mistreated. “At the vet, an x-ray showed that his left paw was held together by a splint. For me, Boris is more than a dog. My Paws and I is about synchronicity. And, of course, it’s about love.”

Bergal completed My Paws and I while studying at the Rodchenko School of Arts, during a course dedicated to self-portraiture led by Igor Mukhin. “This project is more about a sense of connection rather than myself,” the photographer adds. In Bergal’s work, mundane details of day-to-day life become a way to create an intimate insight into a person’s life — or, in this case, the life he shares with Boris.