I’ve decided that this cat is a black tortoiseshell-and-white because there’s a very small amount of white in the coat. Perhaps we could just say that this interesting looking Oriental Shorthair is a tortoiseshell cat. You can see her being wrangled (handled and manoeuvred) by Ken Flick who is the husband of Helmi Flick, the woman taking the photographs. They work together as you might know.
He does the handling and she does the photography but he built the studio set that you see and arranges the lighting. In this case Ken also works with the cat’s owner or handler. It is critical that a cat photographer has somebody to position the cat and is also critical that they use a cat tease (a stick with a further on the end as you can see in the photograph) to catch the cat’s eye after they beam position. This makes their faces more alert in their eyes more open. You want that alert, active, interested cat in a photograph. You also want the cat to make some sort of shape to inject dynamism and aesthetic appeal into the photograph.
Despite what I have just said, I believe that another well-known cat photographer, Tetsu Yamazaki, works alone which makes it much harder. He illustrated the book Legacy of the Cat, authored by Gloria Stephens.
The worst kind of cat photograph is when the cat is hunched up looking a bit bemused and bored. As I recall, this photographic session took place in Oklahoma at a big cat show there. But I might be wrong. This individual is an Oriental Shorthair show cat. I would say that a photographer has about five minutes to get the photograph because beyond that time domestic cats can become difficult to handle and it is unfair to push the session beyond that kind of timeframe. The more active the cat and therefore the more photogenic they are, the more likely it is that they’ll become bored and difficult to handle when confined to a small space. It is all about speed and efficiency.