By Jack Williams
These adorable rat portraits were taken by a committed photographer who’s made it her mission to remove the stigma attached to the creatures.
Diane Ozdamar’s vibrant images feature rodents cutely cuddling flowers, eating fruit, playing with bubbles, and lovingly interacting with each other.
The 32-year-old photographer, who lives in Montreal, Canada, shot her “Fancy Rats” series over a number of years.
The idea stemmed from fostering abused and abandoned rats in the hope of finding them new homes, Diane said, as in order to get them adopted, the photographer had to shoot cute pictures to make them more appealing to wannabe pet owners.
Diane said: “That was how I began taking pictures of them, and I tried to take the best images I could to properly show their personalities.
“Each rat is quite different – they may be small but they really have huge personalities.
“These pictures played a great role in finding these rats their forever home and also helped some people overcome their phobia, so I decided to carry on and keep working on the series.”
Through her images, Diane hopes to showcase the positive characteristics of rats – especially pet rats – which, she said, are “mellow and playful little creatures.”
The photographer believes that the negative impressions pinned to rats stem from their wild siblings; Diane, however, focuses purely on domestic rats.
Her fondness for rats began in high school, when a good friend of Diane’s happened to own two of the creatures.
Having initially been cautious of the pets, Diane said she soon discovered “how incredibly smart, affectionate and playful these beautiful animals are.”
Photographing them, though, can be both very fun and very frustrating.
For half of the time during her shoots, Diane interacts with the rats, making them feel comfortable.
DIANE OZDAMAR / CATERS NEWSOnce they have explored the area, Diane gives them treats and cuddles, so that the rats slow down a little, allowing her to then photograph the rodents.
Diane said: “Rats usually move quite fast, they are very curious and always eager to explore their surroundings and play.
“It is quite hard to get them to pose, but it is also incredibly rewarding to spend some time with them, observing their interactions and getting their displays of affection.
“I would love people to consider adopting rats – and any other animal – from animal shelters, or at least responsible breeders if they can’t find rescue ones.”