Sunday, July 13, 2008

Assistants' Notes: The Photography of Cats.

        About twenty years ago a photographer living at Ealing came prominently before the public as a photographer of cats; he made them a (penalty, just as the late Mr. Thomas Fall, of Baker Street, had some yean earlier made a name for himself as a photographer of dogs. But sins those charming studies of cats have ceased to come from Ealing no other photographer appears to have made a special study of them. Cats are brought to moat studios, it is true, just as babies are, and a photographer may be asked to visit the home of «pussy," but such events are usually looked upon as being just ordinary, and few operators, if any, give a cat more thought unless it be of the evil variety than they would give to any other subject.
        The picturing of cats appears to attract but little attention. Most of the books about cats are badly illustrated by photography, and to see the beat eat pictures of to-day one must turn to the pages of the Bazaar, Exchange, and Matt, the issue of which journal for the first Friday in every month deals largely with eats, and the illustrations given therein are reproductions of the finest photographs of cats one is likely to meet with. The majority of the studies are remarkably good, bat as the name of the photographer never appears it is impossible for the writer to give praise to the operators to whom they are doe.
        The lighting of a cat needs care to bring out the animal's points, but not so much care as is necessary with a human being. A good light and plenty of it is permissible and, in fact, necessary, because of the brief exposures called for. The most important factor in cat work is the choice of suitable back grounds, and it is in selecting thaw tint the average operator usually cornea to grief. A background cam make or mar a picture of a cat, and I am inclined to write down the hack of rounds of commerce and w need for ordinary sitters as being useless for the work. The most satisfactory plan is to make a series of comparatively small backgrounds of varying colour, using millboard w a base, or, if preferred, light wooden frame, covered with cheap calico or similar material. Such backgrounds may measure about 60 INS, x 40 ins., a trifle larger if convenient but certainly not smaller. The material inboard or fabric is then distempered. If six or eight backgrounds of different shades are made the photographer can (elect the colour that will "how up" the cat to the best advantage.
        An ordinary table is portage the most rentable place or “throne” on which to pace a cat and a background with a continuous place (foreground) which can be placed over the table when the background is get up upon it is an advantage, as it prevents the junction between the background and the table showing in the form of an ugly line across, the plate, though the use of a large lens stop usually eliminates the division to some extent.
        Cats are not so affectionate or as easily managed as dogs, but cats know their friends quite as well as do dogs, though they are not so demonstrative. A cat wandering about a street wills often lake notice of some people, but not others, and in so doing rarely if ever attempts to make friends with the pennon who dislikes cats. And having such mysterious knowledge it is obviously difficult far a photographer who is not a lover of "pussy" to pose one in an artistic or comfortable position.
        The ordinary bulky studio camera is of little we for the work, because of "pussy’s" proclivities for wandering about the table and to the edge of the background. The camera to use with ears and comfort is the reflex, and in the band. Much, however, depends upon the behavior of the feline "sitter." As regards posing the operator most use his discretion awl bring his artistic training into play; souse cats look bait landing up other, lying down the most difficult being a sitting position. Cats, when in a strange studio will stand up or lie down more readily than they will sit. Lastly banish all acrimonies from the picture as many otherwise very fine studies of cats have been cause cats are imitative, and will only comfortable on cushions of their own colour or one very near to it, and when a cat is this pictured it because a disciple matter to brow where the cat ends and the accretion begins. – L. T. W.

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