Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blue on Blue

This is our British Shorthair female, RW SGCA/GP Earendil Sky. When I first began shooting cats, we had two backgrounds of stiff plastic sheeting called Varitone: they were painted in an airbrush gradient. This one, above, was blue shading into a dark charcoal.

At the beginning of my career as a cat photographer, I needed some examples of my work to send to the Show Managers of cat shows to prove I could adequately photograph cats. Thus, I needed to create a portfolio. This shot, photographed in early 2000, was one of the shots I used. It's a little "arty" for what breeders want, which are poses that show more fully what their cat looks like and how it conforms to the breed standard. So this kind of photography doesn't do the trick for them since it is as much about background and mood as it is the cat. I loved the serenity of it and felt it captured the personality of my Brit, Sky. She was perfectly relaxed and ready to do what she does best -- to go to sleep with her head resting on her favorite pillow.

I later discovered what breeders and exhibitors at cat shows wanted in their photo shoot and have had to put these mood pieces aside, unless we have more "time than cats to shoot" at a cat show! Then I can do some more work that is as much about communicating feeling as it is about feline conformation. These kinds of shots and the action shots are the ones I love most.

As an aside, as much as we like the limbo look of the Varitone gradient backgrounds, they didn't hold up well since the cat's claws scratched or marred the painted surface. So we switched to fabric backgrounds early on and began creating our gradients with lighting.

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