Rats! (an ode to the Beloved Vermin in photographs of dubious quality)

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Also known as (the epically failed) Rodent Glamor Shots and/or a blatant excuse to show off too many photos of our adored pet. You’ve been warned.

If you aren’t familiar with the work of Diane Özdamar, she does AMAZING and adorable photographs of rats that completely make my heart melt. Rats sleeping with miniature teddy bears. Rats with wings. Rats with tiny Christmas presents. She even has a book.

I don’t have a book, but I do have a rat. This is Artemis, who in this photo resembles a cute stuffed animal, instead of the fierce adventuress that she is.

Not that I remember that her name is Artemis. Instead, her name shifts based on the situation. Morning visits and getting her treat before being allowed to wander the house she is “My Beautiful Love”, Beautifulest Girl”, “Sweetpea”, “Honey”, “Darlin’”, or “Sweetheart”. When we come upon her in her explorations, she is usually “Little Miss”. When we discover that she has climbed the laundry basket to ravage the elastic in everyone’s underwear, or eaten a hole in yet another cpap machine hose, she becomes “Miss Thing” in tones of outrage which she is completely immune to.

Side note: She visits my husband in bed every morning by slipping herself under the bedroom door. One day he decided he wanted to sleep in, so he stuffed the door crack with a pair of jeans he had left carelessly on the floor. Since she is the poster rat of persistence and thinks the word “no” means “keep trying different ways until you get what you want”, this was the result:

She was clearly not willing to be denied her daily visit with the big monkey. And, naturally, they were his only pair of jeans that did not clearly demonstrate their use in multiple, endless construction projects…which he discovered immediately before leaving for a work trip. However, I did fix them:

They now look much more professional, and I expect to be offered a contract designing clothing any minute now.

Despite the respiratory issues the vet thought would claim her ages ago, she has outlived her sister and is coming up on her 2nd birthday. Her fur is turning yellow, she is going bald in patches, and we think she is losing her eye sight, but her little 14-ounce self still manages to run the entire house, because her big monkeys are total suckers.

To celebrate her 2nd birthday, we decided to do “professional” photos, instead of just the normal images we take with our phones of her with her head in someone’s breakfast bowl. After all, I do photography. Mosty of bugs, who move all the time. How hard can it be?

Let me just state for the record that I am perfectly aware that my arrogance has no basis whatever in reality. That knowledge doesn’t impact things in any way, but I do know it.

After two solid weeks of two photoshoots a day (one in the morning, one in the evening, length of time determined by her waning patience) we have about 80 million out-of-focus pictures of her eating things, several hundred in-focus photos of her eating things, multitudes of photos of her attempting to leave the photo area, and a few photos that we adore because they are so very her, even if they aren’t very good.

A few of the outtakes:

What is under here, mom?
We title this “Apple in Solitude”.
What are you doing? Can I see?
A tribute to the “Jaws” movie poster.
We could hang this one and drink wine and say things like “Deep. Very deep.”

We also attempted a boudoir shoot, with limited success:

Attempts with flowers mostly proved that she is willing to eat those, also, although there were a couple where it looks more like she is exploring/smelling them than trying to devour them (which was the actual case):

By far the most successful attempt was the apple, however. This one would have been perfect and adorable if it wasn’t out of focus:

Although this one is an acceptable alternative:

It almost makes it look like I know what I am doing.

However, the entire adventure was completely worth it for these two photos. We didn’t get a peaceful pet that would cuddle sleepily with props. However, we did get a girl who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. As quoted from William Shakespeare: “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

“Mine.”
“I said, ‘MINE.'”

There is no hope for us. We are completely besotted.

16 Responses

    1. She is teaching us that. She hasn’t yet given up attempting to get back onto the counter in the kitchen…it’s been a year since she managed it last time. But we have to be pretty fierce about enforcing that rule….or she ricochets down the back of the oven and that is just a REAL “no”!

  1. I love these and will boldly say my fear of rodents dissipated ever so slightly after seeing her in all her glorious ways!

    1. Well, there is definitely a difference between the highly pampered and slightly spoiled queen of the house and random rodents in the wild….but thank you for being so indulgent as to wade through my beloved pet pictures!

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