Why The Cat Photoshoot?
I love cats. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals in general, especially the friendly ones (as most of us do — unfortunately not enough of us). But I have a special thing for cats. So when I’m bored at home and can’t, for whatever reason, go in the desert or the mountains or the ocean or wherever “outside” happens to be, and I’m itching to grab the camera (which is everyday), I shoot my cats.
Okay, so I shoot them with the camera, of course. I’m not that bored (or cruel). So what is a cat photoshoot like? Well, as you may have guessed, not like a model shoot. Cats, like dogs, are especially active, move about constantly, and don’t care about the fact you’re sweating gallons trying to frame that “perfect” photo. That’s so inconsiderate of them, isn’t it? I mean, there you are, struggling to freeze time and capture a moment that will live on forever, solidifying that beautiful expression into print . . . and they . . . plain . . . don’t . . . care. What they do care about is that fly in the corner, that light reflection scurrying across the ceiling, that bird outside the window . . . and the list goes on. Because if they’re not sleeping, well, they’re simply busy catching every moment of life they can grab. And you, the photographer, have to jump through hoops and contort yourself into odd shapes and call their names and make weird sounds (that astonishes even you) to get their attention.
Okay, I Get It, It’s SOOOO Hard — boohoo. So How Do You Do A Cat Photoshoot?
Fine. I’ll stop complaining. but what most people (the non-photographers, lucky them) don’t realize is that a photograph is not taken in a second. It can take hours — at least for a cat photoshoot (landscapes can literally take days if you have to come back again and again to capture that special light or weather condition). You shoot and shoot away, always referring back to that vision you have in your mind, because that is your guide. So you know what you want, and keep trying to get that. But sometimes — no, most of the time — you don’t get it. Yet eventually you get something. And hopefully you get something that is in the range of your vision, but if not, well, you still get something, and sometimes it’s a wonderful surprise. You typically sift through a hundred or more images. And you keep one. Or two. National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore says that he may go through 1000 images before selecting one. Or two. That’s to be admired. It’s a lot of work.
So Why Do It at All?
I have no idea actually. But a cat photoshoot is like any photographic project: you do it because you anticipate what you might end up with. You must do it because it keeps calling you. What I mean by “it” is that vision in your mind, that “perfect” picture you visualize. You’ll hardly ever get it. In fact a perfect picture is not even remotely attainable because it doesn’t exist. But you anticipate that feeling you’ve gotten in the past, that doppie feeling that embraces you and makes you almost dizzy. I suspect it’s akin to the fisherman catching a big fish.