Besides shooting human portraits on the streets, my eyes will automatically lock target on any moving four-legged meowing creatures roaming the same streets I frequent for shutter therapy. Oh yes, cats ranked very highly in my "to-shoot" list when I am out there doing street photography. Mock me as much as you like, I do not care, I love cats, though I do not own any as pets, but encountering them on the streets is quite an interesting experience.
I realized I have quite an extensive "street-cat" photo collection, I can arrange them into a series easily now. I was told by an old photography friend that one day I would be able to do an exhibition solely on the cats I have shot on the streets. No, not just the ordinary portrait close up shots of the cute, innocent looking furry faces, but portraying the cats, just like the way I shoot humans with their surrounding environments. Think of street photography, minus the humans, and add the cat into the picture. Something like that. Has there been such a category invented? If not I better come up with a new name quick. That could be the next thing I invent after the phrase "shutter therapy" and I have a good feeling it will take off. Trust me on this.
So here I was, shooting cats, week after week, while observing all the usual rules or conventions that I apply to my own photography: composition, strong visual and subject content, interesting background, beautiful lighting, etc etc. I know there is a specific photography group that exists just to criticize and look down on other photographers who shoot cat photos. I hope they never found this blog entry.
7 Bucks per Kilo
F*** F*** F*** Cat
In the shadows
Some interesting observations I would like to share:
1) I have converted most of my cat photos into black and white. I am not sure why I did this, as I made my decision from photo to photo. I think, instead of having the cat standing out of the scene, I subconsciously wanted the cat to blend into the background.
2) I mostly, only take very close up shots of the cat (much like my human portrait headshot style), when I was testing a new lens, or camera. You know, zoom into 100% magnification view and see all the fur you can count. I realized I do not do so much tight shots during my usual street photography sessions.
3) Cats love me. People who have been shooting with me know that they come to me and I am like a cat-magnet. No, I do not have food on me, and I do not do anything unusual. Sometimes I just call out to the cat and they could come. Though they are street cats they do not look hungry or wanted anything from me. I spend some time playing and petting the cats, perhaps much more than shooting them. (I would keep some as my own pets but I live in a flat which forbids pets indoors)
4) I really am getting serious about cat-street photography. I know it does not make much sense, but hey, cat replacing humans as subjects in a properly executed street photograph can be something uniquely interesting. I may not be the first to initiate this, but I think a full project that leads up to a proper exhibition sounds probable. Maybe I should start some Kick starter campaign.
5) Most of my favourite cat photographs were taken with wide angle lenses.
6) It is NOT easy shooting cats. It is quite difficult to predict their movements and how long they will stay in one position (unless they are sleeping, or resting in one spot). When composition was planned, the cat can simply decide to move out of your frame.
7) Dogs just do not have the same charm in street photography as cats. I don't know, maybe I am wrong but they do not work in my own visualization of how my images turn out.
8) Yes, Kuala Lumpur has too many stray cats running around. Though I must add, most of the cats I have encountered were healthy and well fed, since they usually linger around the back-lanes and areas adjacent to local eateries.
By the Light
And yes, some behind the scene photos.
Any cat lovers here? You must have taken tonnes of photos of your cats. One day when I have my own house I will have cats, and probably by then I should start a new photo-blog just for my cat photos. Else, this place will be inundated with cat portraits. Which can be a horror.