Doggy cuteness? I’ll show you doggy cuteness…
In the course of “researching” Alfred Kahn, the genius marketer to kids – Cabbage Patch Kids, Pokémon – who just bought Bernie Madoff’s old digs, I, quite naturally, wandered a bit around his company’s web site, 4 Kids Entertainment.
Among the things they market are a few animal-related outfits that are as much 4 Adults as they are 4 Kids: American Kennel Club, Cat Fancier, and something called “The Dog,” a puppy-photography and photo-book company (begun in Japan) that uses a “fish-eye lens to create a strange ratio adorably enhanced image.”
The Dog’s “artbank” includes:
…70 different breeds of dogs & over 100,000 puppy images photographed at unique angles where heads and bodies are adorably enhanced to give museum-like feel.
I’m not quite sure what that ‘museum-like feel’ means. If there’s one thing I don’t associate dogs with it’s the term ‘museum-like.”
‘Museum-like feel’ aside, why would one want to create a ‘strange ratio’ to ‘adorably enhance’ a picture of a creature which is, by its very essence, adorably enhanced by nature alone. The picture to your right – from The Dog – illustrates what I mean. This is a black lab puppy, adorably enhanced. Or so they say. Personally, I find that this doggy looks distorted and weird. The shrunken little body that looks like a little witch’s kettle. That outsized head. Gosh, I get uncomfortable just thinking about having to carry that mega-dome on that teeny-tiny little body. Sure, this is what a doggy-come-a-calling would look like if viewed through the crook-prevention peephole in your door. But, before you took it’s picture, wouldn’t you just open the door and let it in.
In contrast, ecce a non-distorted shot of a black lab. Okay, Jack is not exactly doing what nature and evolution intends for him. He’s not retrieving dead ducks from the pond and returning them to the hunter, shivering and nipping Jack Daniels in his soggy duck blind. But he’s doing what pet-ownership intended for him, which is resting on the couch with his favorite toy, Hedgie, the stuffed hedgehog that, just moments before, had its Santa Claus cap bitten off. Now, I am admittedly a lousy photographer. And I was using my Blackberry, not a nifty, purpose-built digital camera. So this picture does absolutely nothing to truly capture the extraordinary doggedly doggy cuteness of my dog-nephew Jack.
But I’ll try to be objective here, and ask you? Which is cuter?
Jack or a no-doubt naturally adorable puppy “adorably enhanced” into macrocephalic weirdness.
Okay. Voting’s over. Jack won, paws down.
Distorted pictures of dogs is, apparently, a $300M a year business.
A tail-wag and face-lick from Jack? Priceless.