The Cat that Fought Back

by Miserere

  

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:

O yea? Wel nowz I teyk fotos of U.
Haw du u like dem apllez!?

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.

  

Philosophical Pondering

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)

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4 Responses to “The Cat that Fought Back”

  1. Hey Mis! Nice one! I do think intention is an important part of art, but I need to clarify. It is the intention on the part of both the creator and the appreciator.

    1. The lack of a binding legal definition of art (despite many people’s best attempts to fit the world of art into their framework) results in art being definable only in the perception of the one wondering wether to call something art or not.
    2. So, merely the intention to create art results in art.
    3. Also, the choice to view something (anything) as art is also an intention that then results in it being art, despite the fact that the creator of the object may not have had art in mind.

    The reason that I think this is important is for a few reasons.

    1. It removes the prerequisite of popularity in defining art or value in art.
    2. It also “should” remove the blinds of tradition, bias, hidden agenda oriented influence, and such bull.
    3. It also “should” free up the artist in each of us to explore our creativity more freely.

    I could say more, but this is enough for now. 🙂

    Garry

    • Thanks for taking the time comment on this matter, Garry. I think your first 3 points are valid, although you said It is the intention on the part of both the creator and the appreciator, when I think you meant either, given point 3.

  2. I think my cats are too diva to bother taking the photos… and they’re too diva to do anything for the camera… or me. Yes, dogs have owners, cats have servants.
    -Somanna

  3. Oops, you’re right Mis. That is indeed what I meant. 🙂

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