An Early Stocking Stuffer for Cat Lovers

Walter Chandoha might not be a household name, but he’s a legend among photography enthusiasts and — most importantly for readers of this blog — a true OG of feline photography.

Chandoha, who took more than 90,000 photographs of photogenic kitties, passed away earlier this year at the ripe old age of 98. We don’t know the secrets to the photographer’s longevity, but it’s a good bet all that time spent with cute cats was a major contributor.

The New Jersey native and NYU graduate didn’t set out to become the most celebrated cat photographer. His work appeared on hundreds of magazine covers before the fluffy little carnivores pulled him into their world:

In 1949, Walter Chandoha adopted a stray kitten in New York. When he began taking pictures of his new pet, Loco, he was so inspired by the results that he started photographing kittens from a local shelter, thereby kickstarting an extraordinary career that would span seven decades

Now those photos are collected in a book called, appropriately, Cats: Photographs 1942-2018.

chandohacats1
A pair of Chandoha’s kitty muses.

Fashion has Helmut Newton, architecture has Julius Shulman, and cat photography has Walter Chandoha. In 1949, his encounter with a stray kitten blossomed into a career that elevated feline portraiture to an art form. This is a tribute not just to these beguiling creatures but also to a remarkable photographer who passed away this year at the age of 98; and whose compassion can be felt in each and every frame.

Walter Chandoha Cat Photography
Hello, kitten!
Walter Chandoha cat photography
“Why are humans always putting us in baskets?”
Walter Chandoha
Chandoha and one of his feline models in the 1950s.
Walter Chandoha Cat Photography
Walter Chandoha was photographing adventure cats before it was cool.
Walter Chandoha Cat Photography
“Hey, get outta my milk, tiny human!”

Chandoha’s “Cats” and two other collections of his cat photographs (Walter Chandoha’s Book of Kittens & Cats, Walter Chandoha: Cat Photographer) can be found at Amazon.

Buddy
“Hey! What about me? I want to be in a cat photography book!”

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