HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 10: A standard poodle named Afterglow Maverick Sabre--known as Ricky, stands at attention on the groomer's table before placing 2nd in group 9 during the 2014 World Dog Show on Sunday, August 10th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
A standard poodle named Afterglow Maverick Sabre--known as Ricky, stands at attention on the groomer's table before placing 2nd in group nine during the 2014 World Dog Show on Sunday, August 10th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland.Landon Nordeman for TIME
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 10: A standard poodle named Afterglow Maverick Sabre--known as Ricky, stands at attention on the groomer's table before placing 2nd in group 9 during the 2014 World Dog Show on Sunday, August 10th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 8: Kaapo, a 9 year old Great Dane from Finland, meets performers from the Helsinki dance group High Heels backstage during the first day of the 2014 World Dog Show on Friday, August 8th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 9: Four Azawakhs--an African sight hound--born in Italy linger backstage during the 2014 World Dog Show on Saturday, August 9th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 10: Mila Plisenko, from Moscow, Russia, plays with her two year old female Weimaraner, Bekki,   at the 2014 World Dog Show on Sunday, August 10th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 10: Silvia Fanetti from Italy, checks on her Best of Breed male Weirmaraner named "Best" before competing in the group during the 2014 World Dog Show on Sunday, August 10th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 10: Nancy, a 3 year old female Old English Sheepdog is smothered with a kiss by her handler Elisabeth Antl, top, from Austria, after winning Best of Breed during the 2014 World Dog Show on Sunday, August 10th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland.  (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 9: An unidentified woman with a dog brush tucked into her belt watches the judging during the 2014 World Dog Show on Saturday, August 9th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 9: Owner, breeder, and handler Sebastian Kurtowicz of Poland, kneels next to his Afghan Hound, Set, during judging on day two of the 2014 World Dog Show on Saturday, August 9th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 9:  Tove Johnsen, a former breeder of Scottish Deerhounds, meets Minka, a one year old female Scottish Deerhound from Finland at the 2014 World Dog Show on Saturday, August 9th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 9:  Apple, as in "apple of my eye," an Irish Wolfhound, looks over his shoulder as his owner, Gosewien van Klaarbergen, of the Netherlands, leads her other wolfhound, Tokyo, outside of the 2014 World Dog Show on Saturday, August 9th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 9: Terka, a 3 year old female Magyar Agar--a Hungarian sight hound--rests her paws on her cage after raking in five ribbons on the day, including best of breed during the 2014 World Dog Show on Saturday, August 9th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 10: Sibbes, a five year old male Komondor from Finland sticks out his tongue during the 2014 World Dog Show on Sunday, August 10th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 10: Nancy, a 3 year old female Old English Sheepdog is prepped for the official winning photo by her handler Elisabeth Antl, top, from Austria, and an assistant, after winning Best of Breed during the 2014 World Dog Show on Sunday, August 10th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 10: Bijon Friser owners show off their garb during the 2014 World Dog Show on Sunday, August 10th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. They have a dozen Bijons at home, but were only spectators at this show. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 10: Anne Reider's five Shetland Sheep dogs from Sweden make the acquaintance of another canine before competing in the Best Breeders' Group, which they won on the final day of the 2014 World Dog Show on Sunday, August 10th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 9: An unidentified man carries an unidentified dog from the main stage during the 2014 World Dog Show on Saturday, August 9th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
HELSINKI, FINLAND - AUG 10: An unidentified handler leads their charge into the ring during group competition during the 2014 World Dog Show on Sunday, August 10th, 2014, in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Landon Nordeman)
A standard poodle named Afterglow Maverick Sabre--known as Ricky, stands at attention on the groomer's table before plac
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Landon Nordeman for TIME
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Hounds of Helsinki: Behind the Scenes of the 2014 World Dog Show

Aug 11, 2014

It was pretty hard to avoid being barked at in Helsinki last weekend. It's not too surprising, I suppose, considering over 21,000 dogs had descended on the Finnish capital for the three-day World Dog Show -- an annual event, held in a different city each year, that sees pooches fiercely compete for the title of Best in Show.

I was there to write a story for TIME, and just two hours in to my first day of reporting I had been snapped at by a preened American Cocker Spaniel, licked a few too many times by a warm-faced Wirehaired Daschund and had narrowly avoided walking straight into the path of a pooping Shar Pei. It's all part of the danger of working with animals, I told myself.

Richard ConwayRichard Conway 

Luckily for me, though, I was in veteran company. Editors had sent me on assignment with Landon Nordeman, a photographer known for his artful take on shows like this.

Put a dog in front of him and he'll make a shot that is somehow comical and sincere. And sure enough, when I saw some of his early edits I hoped we could both go to shows every week.

There were shots of dogs like the regal Weimaraner Bekki, the Scottish Deerhound Minka, and five Shetland Sheepdogs from Sweden. All of them were weird, beautiful animals in real life, but his lens had somehow added an extra dimension, snapping them, it seemed, at just the right time, too.

"Experience has taught me to anticipate when moments are going to happen," Nordeman tells TIME . "It's great -- because when you take their picture, dogs do not talk back!"

Landon Nordeman is a commercial and editorial photographer whose work has been featured in The Atlantic Monthly, TIME, Bloomberg Businessweek and ESPN The Magazine, among others. His images of the World Dog Show will appear in TIME on September 1, 2014.

Richard Conway is reporter/producer for TIME LightBox

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