The Feline Photographer: Walter Chandoha’s Contributions to Cat Art

Walter Chandoha was an American photographer considered one of the most outstanding cat photographers of all time. Born in 1920 in New Jersey, he started his career as a freelance photographer in the 1940s and became well-known for his photographs of cats. He began taking pictures of cats when he found an abandoned kitten, and he soon discovered that he had a talent for capturing the beauty and character of these fascinating creatures.

Walter Chandoha worked in various styles, from straightforward, posed portraits to more candid, spontaneous shots that captured the cat’s playful and mischievous nature. Throughout his career, he was dedicated to his craft and worked tirelessly to improve his techniques and create images that would captivate cat lovers everywhere. He was particularly interested in capturing the individuality of each cat, and he spent many hours observing and studying their behavior to create images that truly represented their unique personalities.

Throughout his career, Chandoha took thousands of cat photographs, and he became known for his ability to create images that captured cats’ unique personalities and expressions. He was a master of his craft, and his photographs have been published in magazines, books, and calendars worldwide. To this day, Walter Chandoha is remembered as one of the most influential cat photographers of all time, and his images continue to inspire photographers and cat lovers alike.

#1 Chiara Chandoha drinks milk next to a kitten in 1961. She is one of the daughters of legendary cat photographer Walter Chandoha.

#2 These adorable kittens took part in a Chandoha photo shoot for McCall’s Magazine in 1964.

#3 An American shorthair squeezes into a glass in 1960.

#6 Chandoha’s daughter Paula is trailed by the family cat, Loco, in 1951.

#8 This 1955 photo is one of Walter Chandoha’s most famous shots. “My daughter Paula and the kitten both ‘smiled’ for the camera at the same time. … But the cat’s not smiling, he’s meowing.”

#10 A Siamese cat in 1984. Early in his career, Chandoha sought the advice of a tiger trainer. “To get the shot, you need three things: sound, patience and food.”

#11 Chandoha’s backlighting technique dramatizes the defensive posture of a kitten seeing a dog in 1957.

#16 Onlookers at Fabulous Felines pet store, New York City, 1961.

#17 The spirited Loco – a stray Russian blue Chandoha spotted on a snowy New York City street. His newfound pet would launch his photographic journey. Astoria, 1951.

#18 A clowder of ominous looking felines in one of the photographer’s most famous works, titled The Mob. New Jersey, 1961.

#19 Mr. Chandoha with his son Enrico and a subject in his home studio in 1961.

#20 A cat stars in a photo shoot for a Friskies cat-food campaign in 1966.

#22 An early photoshoot between photographer and subject, taken in Chandoha’s Long Island home studio in 1955.

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Written by Jacob Aberto

Sincere, friendly, curious, ambitious, enthusiast. I'm a content crafter and social media expert. I love Classic Movies because their dialogue, scenery and stories are awesome.

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