The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

August 8, 2016

August 8, 1920

What do these magazines have in common:

Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal,L, Woman's Day,  Good Housekeeping
National Geographic,  Country Living,  House Beautiful, Architectural Digest, Organic Gardening, and Better Homes and Gardens

They all published photographs by Walter Chandoha, (August 8, 1920) famous for his cat photographs, but also doing garden shots.  His books include:

Catnips at love and marriage
, (c0-authored) (1951)
All kinds of cats, (1952)
Walter Chandoha's book of kittens and cats (1963)
From kittens to cats (1965)
The literary cat (1977)
How to shoot & sell animal photos (1986)

Worldcat lists scores of other books, though some are for children.

In An interview this son of Ukrainian immigrants talks about his life before the fame his cat photography brought him.

While in college
[NYU] I augmented my GI Bill subsistence allowance by shooting weddings and entering photo contests and sometimes winning cash prizes. And during one winter I found a homeless cat in the snow, gave her a home and sometimes used her (and later her kittens) as a model. Most of the winning pictures I entered in contests were of cats and kittens. In addition to entering contests with my cat pictures I made feature picture stories involving cats and sometimes sold them to New York newspapers. These efforts were so successful that once in a while I got requests for cat pictures from magazines and ad agencies. More of my stuff was published, and I was getting a minor reputation as a cat photographer. Then I made my big decision—I quit the job I didn’t enjoy, drove home and started freelancing as a specialist in cat photography. We starved for two years, were happy and although I did not realize it at the time, we were building a stock picture file that is still yielding today, some 50 years later.

Professionals rate his urban scenes of New York City between 1945 and 55 highly and that no doubt is part of the stock file he references.

Elsewhere Chandoha says

 he isn’t surprised by the huge presence cats have on the Internet since they are great subjects and technology has made it easier to photograph them.

“More importantly is how loveable cats are,” Chandoha said. “They make ideal companions.”

The citation for this quote has lots of great examples of his photographs.

Walter Chandoha is 96 years old today.  

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