Sontag, Calvino, and Barthes all talk about how the object being photographed – if it is a person – changes the way it acts once it knows it is being photographed: “Once I feel myself observed by the lens, everything changes: I constitute myself in the process of ‘posing’” (Barthes 10). This is a perfectly natural reaction, and indeed it is very difficult if not impossible to photograph someone without them trying to create a particular image of themselves, whether consciously or subconsciously.
That is one of the best parts of pet photography: a cat can be perfectly aware of me standing there, but it has no idea what it means when I point a camera at it. It has no idea that I am capturing an image of it, that I might show other people the image and that they will form an opinion on it based on the image. The cat just continues doing whatever it was doing, whether that be sleeping or running around or eating. This lack of knowledge of what a photograph means is mostly found only in animals and very small children, and it is interesting to photograph them without them trying to create an identity for the picture.