Author(s): Walter Chandoha
A career-spanning retrospective of the 20th century_s greatest cat photographer
On a winter_s night in 1948 in New York City, young marketing student and budding photographer Walter Chandoha spotted a stray kitten in the snow, bundled it into his coat, and brought it home. Little did he know he had just met the muse that would determine the course of his life. Chandoha turned his lens on his new feline friend_which he named Loco_and was so inspired by the results that he started photographing kittens from a local shelter. These images marked the start of an extraordinary career that would span seven decades.
Long before the Internet and #catsofinstagram, Chandoha was enrapturing the public with his fuzzy subjects. From advertisements to greetings cards, jigsaw puzzles to pet-food packaging, his images combined a genuine affection for the creatures, a strong work ethic, and flawless technique. Chandoha_s trademark glamorous lighting, which made each cat_s fur stand out in sharp relief, would define the visual vocabulary of animal portraiture for generations and inspire such masters as Andy Warhol, who took cues from Chandoha_s charming portraits in his illustrated cat book.
The Cat Book leaps into this genre-defining artist_s archives. Across color studio and environmental portraits, black-and-white street photography, images from vintage cat shows, and more, this is a fitting tribute not just to these beguiling creatures but also to a 98-year-old photographer whose compassion and appreciation for animals can be felt in each and every frame.