The Cat that Fought Back
A friend of mine believes that the Internet was invented for the sole purpose of allowing people to share cat photos. On Flickr there are over 3.2 million photos tagged with cat (although not all seem to be of the feline variety), while a Google Image search for the word cat returns almost 100 million hits. There are a lot of cat photos out there…and I wonder, do cats even like being photographed?
But now, one cat is fighting back, one cat is saying:
Meet Cooper the Photographer Cat. Not only is he a handsome American Shorthair kitty, he also likes to take photos of his adventures in and around the Seattle neighbourhood where he lives with his two servants, Michael and Deirdre Cross.
How does he take photos, you ask? Good question! Cooper ordered Michael to provide him with a camera he could easily carry with him, yet adapted to his anatomical shortcomings (such as not having fingers). Michael, ever the faithful servant, commissioned a special little camera that Cooper could wear hanging from his neck and which would take a photo automatically every 2 minutes. Once a week, Michael puts the camera on Cooper and lets him roam the land, free to practice his Art.
You can see more of his photographs in his Flickr stream.
And speaking of Art, there are many who think one of the pillars of any artistic endeavour is Intention. That is, a photograph is only Art if the photographer intended it that way. So, for example, if I take a photograph of a dent in my car to send to my insurance company, that’s not Art; if, on the other hand, I set out on a walk with my camera and decide to take a nice photograph of the sunset over the hills, then it is Art. The question I pose to you, then, is this: Given the aesthetic merits of some of Cooper’s photographs (he’s had a gallery showing and is selling prints), can we consider them Art? And if we do, are we then saying that Cooper took them purposefully, and thus that he knew what he was doing?
As an aside, I hate to think of the legal ramifications of getting photographs of other people’s private lives through your pet.
All photos: ©Cooper the Photographer Cat (published here without his written consent)