Walter Chandoha is a man who has been photographing cats for 70 yearsBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/walter-chandoha-is-a-man-who-has-been-photographing-cats-for-70-years
He is called the "pioneer", "king" and "godfather" of cat photography. Walter Chandoha earned such titles because over a 75-year career he made more than 90,000 cat pictures, which were printed in Life and National Geographic magazines, flaunted on cans with myriad brands of cat food, were published in calendars and books. And it all started on a winter night in the late 1940s, when Chandoha picked up a stray kitten on the street.
Walter Chandoha at Home Studio, Long Island, 1955.
Walter George Chandoha was born in 1920 in New Jersey. He started photographing as a child with a Kodak family camera, then joined a photo club in Bayonne, where he learned how to develop film and print photos.
After school, he worked as an illustrator's assistant. During World War II, Chandoha served as a photojournalist. After the war, he studied at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University, got married and moved to Queens, New York.
Frisky Loco, 1951.
Chandoha became interested in photographing a new pet and soon his images appeared in newspapers and magazines. Shooting Loco brought so much pleasure that instead of a career as a marketer, Chandoha decided to become an independent photographer specializing in shooting cats.
By the mid-1950s, he had established himself as the most respected commercial pet photographer of his time.
Later, he and his wife moved to a farm in Annandale, New Jersey, where he took one of his most famous pictures with five cats ("Gang"). Chandoha also photographed fruits and flowers, street scenes in New York, dogs, horses and other animals, but is primarily known for photographs of cats.
His pictures appeared in more than 300 magazines and were used in several thousand advertising campaigns, printed in greeting cards, puzzles, T-shirts, posters, calendars and pet food packages.
The Gang, New Jersey, 1961.
He has published more than 30 books, including "Walter Chandohi's Book about Kittens and Cats" (1963) and "How to Photograph Cats, Dogs and Other Animals" (1973).
Chandoha and his works have repeatedly featured in book and museum exhibitions. He said: "I like to photograph cats most of all, because they have a limitless range of poses, gestures, expressions and colors."
Walter Chandoha died in January 2019 in Annandale, leaving an archive of more than 225,000 images, including about 90,000 photos of cats. Almost all of them were made long before kittens became viral favorites of social networks.
Chandoha elevated feline portraits to the level of art. This month, Taschen Publishing House is releasing the book "Photos of Cats. Walter Chandoha. 1942−2018».
Photographer Paul's daughter and a kitten, 1955.
Trio in New Jersey, 1982.
At the pet store, New York, 1961.
Siamese Cat, New Jersey, 1984.
Keywords: Life | National Geographic | Cats | Master of photography
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