On Cat Photography
For about the past year or so, I’ve been working hard at my photography. For a while—before an overabundance of work got in the way—I was shooting everyday. I’ve been taking online workshops through Lynda.com, which are very helpful. And I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos and studying books from some of my favorite photographers.
There were many common tips in a lot of the educational tools I was using. The one that seemed to be almost everywhere I turned was to have a personal project—something you can continue to work on and and grow through as a photographer. This was hard for me because my interest in photography spans many different areas: landscape, street, and food, to name a few. So I wrestled for quite a while with the question of what to make my personal project. What would I want to keep shooting over a period of time?
While I tried to figure out the answer to this question, I was still going out in the street as much as I could, or into a state park. This was happening once or twice per week. And for fun, when I got home from work I’d try to snap a few photos of my cat, Pinky. She’s a lovely Torby polydactyl, and kind of indifferent to the camera.
After a while I’d gathered quite a few photos of Pinky, so I decided to start an Instagram account for her: @pinkypolydactyl. I’m hoping to someday make money through my photography, so I kept the Instagram account quiet. Nobody I knew was really aware of it. I guess I thought it was silly to have something like that, and that I was going to be seen as a crazy cat lady. But what was interesting was that aside from people who just love cats on Instagram, I noticed quite a few photographers were following the account. This made me feel better about what I was doing. And at that point it occurred to me that I’d found my personal project. I’d been working on it for months.
I still want to find a way to turn my photography into some sort of job, probably freelance or part-time. And I plan on taking a few workshops in the coming months to steer me more toward photojournalism than toward some of the other things I’ve done in the past. But for now I’m embracing the cat photography. I’ve submitted shots to magazines and have received some good attention from different types of pet brands on Instagram. So it’s going pretty well, and I’m not worried about it making me look insane. I’ve found a few other people who exclusively shoot pets and it’s an interesting world. And two articles popped up on photography blogs last week that make me feel even better about it (At PictureCorrect: A Day in the Life of a Cat Photographer, and at Light Stalking: Why There’s Nothing Wrong with Photographing Your Cat). So now I’m a proud cat photographer. Hear me meow.