At first, British photographer Martin Usborne just wanted to do some reporting on people who leave their dogs locked up in cars. But as he went around scouring parking lots, “making barking noises to try and awaken sleeping dogs that were not actually there,” his project took on a new artistic direction. “The Silence of Dogs in Cars” was inspired by a “childhood memory of waiting in a car whilst his parents were shopping in a supermarket, and the youthful fear that they would not return.”

Usborne staged and shot these strange, dreamy photos of dogs in their owners’ cars, juxtaposing two of man’s most prized — and often thought of as self-representative — “possessions.” From Flo, who intently awaits something with a conviction that we are incapable of, to Bones, who gazes into his own reflection, possibly pondering the meaning of his own existence; these dogs are mysterious, beautiful, and can see straight into your measly human soul.

“The Silence of Dogs in Cars,” Martin Usborne, Mar 19- April 27, The Little Black Gallery, London