Monday, August 4, 2014

Dog-Baby Photo Shoot: Almost An Abomination. Almost.

So apparently the whole idea for this photo shoot came from the wife, a professional wedding photographer with her husband, who said to her photographer friend, "Oh, I wish I had a baby to do a newborn shoot with you." So Jamie Clauss decided to do a newborn shoot with her friend's dog.


From BuzzFeed, where I found these photos:
The 27-year-old photographer emphasized that the photoshoot is supposed to be taken as tongue-in-cheek, and that the couple really “treat their dogs like dogs.”  
“It’s funny because all these commenters are like, ‘Dogs shouldn’t be people.’ That’s the joke! That’s the point,” she said. “That’s the funny part, is that this is how people really do treat their animals.”
When I clicked over from Facebook, I was eager to hate on this shoot. But I can't. It's funny.

Why is it funny? Because the photographers are Christians. Sure, they might be cheesy Christians, but wouldn't you expect wedding and newborn photographers to be cheesy people?

And I'm serious about Christians making it funny. It is a holy thing to be able to have fun with Creation without destroying or mocking it. I clicked thinking they'd be mockers of life, but they turned out to be Christians and lovers of life. I know this because the baby photographer's studio is called Count It Joy, as in "count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds..." And the wedding photographers who served as models say the following on their website:
Just a few things that fire us up? Loving our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, family, the outdoors, plants, trees, healthy eating, book stores, hot tea, antiques, animals, fabric, painting, building things, music, people, sewing… okay… maybe Chase doesn't enjoy the sewing part =) We married on June 17, 2006, and have one little furry-four-legged “baby”, Snuggles.
Clearly these folks are a little too peaches-and-cream for me to hang out with. And they might love their little dog a little more than is seemly, but I as a cat person can be no judge. Regardless, I believe I can safely hold them up as an example of what happens when joy and exuberance turn Creation on its head: fun. Fun is what happens.

As Ms. Clauss said, people really do treat their animals this way. Because they are selfish. Kids ruin lives, but dogs don't. "My dog is my baby" is a classically irritating line to parents of small children, with its wild disproportionality demeaning parental love and degrading human life.


We can't expect death-worshipers to maintain any perspective, much less any joy. But we can expect worshipers of Jesus Christ, who is the firstborn over all Creation, to rejoice in the lives of men and dogs, to see them for what they are and what they can be.

If you know what things are for, you probably know where they belong.

Remember that guy last week who hired a photographer to do a cheesy maternity shoot with him, because his wife didn't want to do one? He went around poking his belly out and gazing in soft-focus at his navel and it was hilarious. And it was hilarious because it rejoiced in life. Huzzah, I'm to have a child!, it said. Joy and gratitude make for fun.

Ms. Clauss, the newborn/dog photographer, has apparently already been contacted by at least one person wanting another dog shoot. Those shoots, if she chooses to do them, will not be funny or joyful. They will be full of the earnest-faux auto-love of the dog-o-phile. And that is sad. I hope that this shoot going viral helps get Ms. Clauss more of her chosen business, which is portraying and preserving the joy of parents.

As for Jan and Chase Renegar, the wedding photographers who are fired up by their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Ms. Clauss attests to what I would've guessed: "they are hoping to have their own real bundle of joy soon."

May God grant them many babies.


4 comments:

  1. For what it's worth, dogs ruin lives way more than kids, at least so far in mine.

    My 5-year-old dog still has trouble with potty training, while my 6-month-old daughter can wear a diaper.

    My 5-year-old dog spews everywhere, or gets into things, with no understanding of why she needs to change, while I can expect my 6-month-old daughter to eventually acquire language and communication skills which I can use to teach her.

    When my wife and I want to go on a trip out of town, I have to put the dog up in a fifty-dollar-a-night kennel where she's still just in a cage, while my daughter can ride in the backseat of the car or on my wife's lap in an airplane for free. She's easier to deal with in a hotel room and on bathroom stops, to boot.

    My daughter's first six months have been far less disruptive to my life than my dog's first six months were, hands down.

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    1. That is surely true, and is a good perspective. Still, it's nice for dog owners that the objects of their affections die after 15 years, before they get to college

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  2. I don’t dislike animals. I enjoy the company of dogs as long as they're not my responsibility. I am no fan of pet ownership as I get no joy from it whatsoever. I hate the term "fur baby". I have a friend who referred to his dog as his son and when he and his wife had an actual son began referring to the dog and son as brothers. He has 2 sons now and, as far as I know, no longer refers to his dog as a child. I think he finally realized it was ridiculous.

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