This is definitely one from the archives! It’s probably taken in 1983, when I first got my camera and began photographing with black and white film. Kublai, the kitty who rescued me in college and truly began my life as an animal artist, was only about two years old. It’s hard to imagine that many years ago! And imagine me with my first camera…
I’ve always like the photo above, for Kublai, of course; I have so few photos of him because he was usually hanging on me somewhere and I rarely had the chance to photograph him. I can only remember his grace and presence, but that I do remember, and very well.
I was a new photographer then, had only had my first camera a few months and basically knew nothing about it, but this is how I learn. And as Kublai led me to the study of himself and thereby other cats as art subjects, so he led me down the path of cat photographer and I learned by doing, arriving at today’s creative efforts, and heading for tomorrow’s.
So in addition to simply him, I also appreciated his shape on the windowsill, that easily recognizable graphic outline of a cat shape that black cats often give us, and also the specifics of Kublai’s personality, the tall hips and long hind legs, waving tail, round face and bold bearing. I also photographed for the light, bright, airy feeling, of this spacious room in an apartment in a huge Victorian house, and specifics of the scene—the waterfall of the starched and ironed (by me) cotton batiste curtain across the window and falling on the sill diffusing the light, the leafy plant which is almost more of a subject than the cat, and even the fact that it has an antique appearance though it’s not old, just black and white but developed in a color machine.
I am sometimes amazed at the things I produced years ago when I was simply experimenting with things, as with this. Most of the other photos on the roll were blurs, too dark, or simply of questionable interest, then there is this.
Someday I may do the detailed pencil sketch I’ve always intended…for the past 30 years.
It’s also a dedication to a cat who changed my life.
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