Practical pups One of the most popular canvases for Laika’s image was the cigarette case. These ranged from inexpensive boxes to more finessed plated metal and leather cases, with many featuring Laika alongside Communist emblems and portraits of Lenin. (© Martin Parr)
Part art book, part popular science, Space Dogs: the Story of the Celebrated Canine Cosmonauts evolved from a private collection of objects, which turned into a photography project. Not so surprising, considering that the collector and artist in question is Martin Parr, a celebrated photographer based in Bristol, UK. But why did he spend 20 years collecting memorabilia related to the Russian space dogs of the 1950s and 1960s?
Aside from the quirkiness factor, the objects form a record of a less-well-known story from the history of space travel, which is here told by science journalist Richard Hollingham, alongside Parr’s photos of his memorabilia collection and original press photos of the doggy heroes and heroines (mostly the latter).
Star light A night lamp from the 1960s, featuring Dimitrovsky porcelain figurines and toy cosmonaut figures. (© Martin Parr)
From the dozens of dogs used in secret early experiments in low-pressure chambers and in suborbital flights, to the media furore ...