Elegant, regal, and admired for their intense speeds, dogs in the 18th century — primarily greyhounds — were often used as hunting dogs in rural Spain during the winter. But over the centuries and in recent years it has been estimated that over 50,000 dogs have been put down or abandoned in open fields left to die at the end of the hunting season because they are considered too old or slow to hunt again, or too expensive to care for.

Photographer and longtime animal activist Martin Usborne reached his Kickstarter goal toward publishing the forthcoming book “Where Hunting Dogs Rest” (U.S release scheduled for September) on June 4.  In the book, Uborne captures achingly beautiful portraits of hunting dogs rescued from an unfortunate end. He documents their lives in light inspired by the Spanish painter Diego Velasquez, who painted at a time when these hunting dogs were revered and ubiquitous. Many of the dogs appear now with thinner frames, seeming almost fearful and timid. In his landscape photographs, Usborne also documents the resting places of dogs whose lives were not saved over the years.

“The photographs aim to show both the classical beauty of these animals but also the ugliness of their modern situation,” the book says. “Their bodies are weakened, the expressions are fearful, their postures uncomfortable, and yet they somehow have an echo of elegance and grace. The landscapes appear romantic and beautiful, and yet, burdened by the abandonment of so many dogs, have an eerie emptiness.”