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Profile pictures with pets become popular

2015/11/08 Source

Is it a special affection towards pets or just a new culture now? More and more people go to a photo studio to take profile pictures or make a picture book with their pets.

Lee Da-gyeong, a 23-year-old woman, has a picture of "Maru", her one-year-old pet dog, hanging on her living room wall. Lee took the picture two months ago at a photo studio specializing in animal pictures. Maru always greets us when we come back from work and makes us smile with her cuteness. We wanted to keep that prettiness just like how people take pictures of their babies when they turn one, she says. When her relatives visit Lee, however, they would shake their heads and say that she is unique.

Lee Soon-ju, a 29-year-old woman who is raising a rabbit named "Rala", says that she is preparing for the future. Since her pet has a short life, Lee needs to take pictures of Rala in advance. Rabbits live for about five years and I wanted to keep the moments with her even when she crosses the rainbow bridge (meaning `passes away for animals`), she says. "In a sense, it could be used as a portrait for a funeral".

Photographer Hyun Chang-ik, 30, takes pictures of 15 to 20 animals every month in his pet photo studio. When I first opened the studio last year, people thought it was weird. But now I get two to three inquiring calls every day, he explains. Though he started the business out of his personal passion for animals, Hyun has to face some difficulties as he deals with his special customers; dogs have marked their territory by urinating in the studio. I always clean the best I can, but I guess I cannot get rid of a specific smell that only dogs can sense, he says.

When he expects a cat customer, he has to clean every corner of the studio in advance because cats tend to hide in corners when they are in a strange place. One day, a cat sneaked under the stairway and covered herself with dust, which I did not anticipate", he says. "It was really embarrassing because it made the entire studio look dirty and I felt sorry for the owner. I have cleaned more meticulously since then.

"Many people seem comforted by pets who love the owners without any conditions, says artist Geum Hye-won, a 36-year-old woman who held a photo exhibition on pets last year. Perhaps this reflects the modern person`s life of solitude.

However, Hyun analyses it differently. It seems to me that people`s love for their pets is not any different than their love for their family, he says remembering when he was photographing a cat named "Gakgoon" two months ago. His owners, a couple, brought him to the studio at 11 p.m. Gakgoon was at deaths door. Hyun had to stay at the studio longer than usual for the photo shooting. The old cat died two days later. I had to do the job solemnly because I could feel the deep pain they were going through", he says.

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