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Her Name was Loco: The Cat that Launched a Career

On a cold New York City night in 1948, Walter Chandoha (1920-2019) spotted a stray kitten in the snow and brought it home. Chandoha, who started his career as a World War II combat photographer, turned his lens on his new feline friend who he named Loco. These images – of his first and most influential muse, marked the start of an extraordinary career that would span seven decades.

An upcoming book, Walter Chandoha. Cats. Photographs 1942-2018 (Taschen, July 2019), is a career-spanning retrospective of the “20th century’s greatest cat photographer,” states the press release. 

Long before Instagram, Chandoha’s cat photographs cultivated followers. His images have appeared on over 300 magazine covers and in thousands of advertisements. From greetings cards to jigsaw puzzles to pet-food packaging, Chandoha’s images combined a genuine affection for the cats and flawless technique. His trademark glamorous lighting would define the visual vocabulary of animal portraiture for generations.

Cats features color studio and environmental portraits, black-and-white street photography, images from vintage cat shows, tender pictures that combine his children with cats, and more. The book, writes Taschen, is “a fitting tribute not just to these beguiling creatures but also to a remarkable photographer…whose compassion can be felt in each and every frame.”

Walter Chandoha. Cats. Photographs 1942-2018
By Walter Chandoha, Susan Michals and Reuel Golden
Taschen, July 2019

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