How much do you love your cat? Do you exude so much affection that your own offspring take a back seat to your feline? For The Billfold writer William Foster, his adoration for Mr. Biscuit – a three-legged, purebred Blue Point Himalayan who is timid around strangers – was enough to book a private home session with Chanan, or what Foster refers to as “arguably the preeminent cat photography team in the country.”
Chanan is a husband-wife duo consisting of Richard and Nancy Katris (although Foster learned that Richard has gone solo in recent years due to a robbery at his home, leaving Nancy to care for the homestead). For more than 30 years Richard has been photographing cats as his main job, with Nancy helping him as his assistant. Chanan is much sought-after by cat breeders, having “cultivated, and established themselves as the principal purveyors of, the favored portraiture aesthetic of cat breeders worldwide,” Foster said. “Breeders comprise the majority of Chanan’s customer base. For them, a Chanan photograph is a practical investment that they use to showcase their animals.” Having seen Chanan in action at a cat show, Foster details the photo duo’s “mesmerizing” photography process, manipulating “toys from an extensive arsenal of strings, feathers, and sticks, goading the cats into positions resembling poses, while his right hand snapped photos during the narrow windows of photogenicity.”
Besides competitions and client work, Chanan also makes house calls. After learning Chanan would be in town for a show, Foster scheduled an appointment – coincidentally on Mr. Biscuit’s birthday. “Mr. Biscuit is the first cat I’ve owned as an independent adult, and with him I finally had an opportunity to indulge my longtime fascination with Chanan,” Foster said.
Unfortunately, the photo session did not go as well as Chanan would have liked. “Mr. Biscuit is the worst subject I’ve ever had, aside from that one tabby in San Diego. I might not have a single usable shot here,” despite trying everything. Because of that, Foster was only charged $100 for the session. They may not be up to Chanan’s standards, but “Chanan’s trash is my treasure,” Foster said.
Head over to The Billfold to read more about Foster’s experience. If you, like Foster, want to take some portrait shots of your cat but can’t afford the services of an esteemed cat photographer, check out these pet photography tips from our very own cat photographer friend, the Furrtographer (a.k.a. Josh Norem).
(Image via The Billfold)
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