Turre the Spanish water dog.
Turre the Spanish water dog. (Photo: Julia Christe)

German photographer Julia Christe invites readers to channel their inner frisbee-loving canine in her zany new book, "Flying Dogs."

Inspired by her own dog and his love of catching objects mid-air, Christe enlisted more than 120 dogs of varying breeds, colors and sizes to be a part of her project — including Flavio, a brownish-orange poodle who looks remarkably like a Cheeto:

Flavio the poodle (or is he a cheeto?)
Flavio the poodle (or is he a cheeto?) (Photo: Julia Christe)

So how exactly did this comical photo series come about?

It all started with parachuting. In 2006, Christe became fascinated with capturing the weightlessness of skydiving while shooting a series of parachutists.

"From there, it seemed like a small step to go back down to earth and add pictures of my then dog, Lucca, to the series of parachutists," Christe writes. "This experience inspired me to begin working with dogs, leading to my first project featuring them, 'Ups & Downs,' a small, simple studio series with only basic technical equipment."

Amy the Siberian husky.
Amy the Siberian husky. (Photo: Julia Christe)

Over the years, she began experimenting with other ways to capture canines in skydiving-esque poses (mostly with the help of a trusty frisbee), but it was only after she received a commission for a veterinarian advertising campaign that she finally perfected her technique. Armed with better equipment and a nicer studio set, she laid out several criteria for how she would make her doggy models fly:

"First, my method had to be safe for a healthy dog, one that required minimal — if any — strain on the dog, and work on the first try, in order to capture the surprise effect. Second, I needed to tailor the approach for different breeds and constitutions. Finally, it had to be doable for all dogs without previous training, requiring a low height while still seeming dynamic. I finally came up with the method that I would use throughout the shootings: rather than having the dogs jump after a ball or a frisbee, I would have their owners or an assistant hold them at a certain height, depending on the dogs’ size, and release them onto a well-padded mattress, allowing me to closely monitor the area where I would shoot."

You can get a good idea of how one of these shoots works in this behind-the-scenes video:


Christe's primary goal is to keep the dogs safe and happy. (She even made sure to include a large sticker on the book's cover that prominently states "no dogs were harmed in the making of this book.")

Liam the shih tzu.
Liam the shih tzu. (Photo: Julia Christe)

If you react to these comical images like we did, you'll be pleased to hear that "Flying Dogs" is now available for purchase. If you'd like to see more of Julia Christe's work, be sure to visit her website.

Scotch the continental bulldog.
Scotch the continental bulldog. (Photo: Julia Christe)

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.