Back in the fall of 2013, Rob and I created the Explorers Club Scholarship for Documentary Photography. Along with my sister Stephanie, we had just wrapped up our first major documentary project and, in seeing how much it had taught us all, we wanted to help another photographer pursue their documentary dreams.
So we put a call out for entries. We sorted through tons of amazing ideas and shared our favourite three with you guys, letting you vote to decide who should receive the $500 cash prize.
Today, we’re so, so excited to share with you the work of the winner: Jeff Borkowski’s Guiding Eyes: The Process of Training Guide Dogs.
Jeff got in touch with us last week to let us know the first instalment of his three-part series was live. We took a look and were floored. Not just by the quality of the images, but by the amazing story behind them.
Jeff’s project follows the lives of the labradors trained at the Guiding Eyes for the Blind’s Canine Development Center in Patterson, New York (Jeff and his wife have volunteered with Guiding Eyes since 2008).
His project documents the incredible love and care (and work!) that go into training some of the best-bred pups for life as service animals. The first instalment takes you inside the Center’s whelping kennel, where brand new pups embark on the very first stages of the service dog training process – one involving lots of playing, massaging (literally – probably the best job in the world!) and exploring.
The first instalment is totally fascinating, and had us grinning, chuckling and even getting a little misty-eyed.
We’re so honoured to be even just a tiny part of such a wonderful project. We sincerely hope you’ll check it out.
A word of warning: Prepare to be struck by an intense desire to snuggle pups.
Congratulations again on your win Jeff, and on the launch of your amazing project. We can’t wait for the next instalment!