I Take Photographs Of People With Their Cats In Venice, Italy, And Here Are The Best 20 Pics
My name is Marianna and I am a photographer from Italy. I am passionate about taking cat photos!
As I have been working on a photographic series "Cats in Venice" since 2017, I decided to try something new. I started adding people in my photos of cats and something beautiful happened!
I started taking the first “feline” photographs shortly after Arthur, my four-legged friend, became part of my life, about 5 years ago. I have always been a great fan of cats and I found in photography a rather direct way to communicate and demonstrate what binds me to these beautiful animals.
In the beginning, I immortalized fortuitous encounters with street or colony cats and, during my first wanderings, I was in Venice several times, a city with which I am truly in love, and which has a very special relationship with cats, whose roots are lost in the mists of time. There I managed to take the first photos, with the stunning and unique background of this incredible city, but without yet having a precise project in mind.
Paolo And Linda
About 2 years ago I partially set aside “street” photography to dedicate myself to my first real photographic project, called “Passions”, followed by a second entitled “C-AT Work”:
both obviously have my beloved felines as their protagonists, but always accompanied by people, those with whom they have created a bond of trust and respect, either at home or in the most unexpected workplaces. I spent a lot of time on these projects, which also brought me some awards as well as the possibility of exposing my results in several Italian cities during 2016 and early 2017.
After some time spent shooting generally indoors, around the middle of 2017 I felt the need to go back to photographing “on the streets” and resume what I had started some time ago, this time in a more organized and committed fashion. “Cats in Venice” got started from there:
I spoke directly to Venetians, asking them for information about cats living in their city, roaming the streets freely, and I immediately received numerous reports, greeted by unexpected enthusiasm for this project, which not only wanted to collect a series of shots, but also tell something more about the various cats of the city.
Pictures of cats in Venice are found quite often, but what actually distinguishes mine from others is, I think, the fact that behind my photographs there is an idea, an organized structure, and a work of “data collection”: in short, a project that links them all together and tells more about them. What led me to opt for a project structure composed of photographs accompanied by a description of each portrayed cat, so as to present their life and personality, were the reports I received: in most cases, they were not just cats, but “famous” cats, with a proper name and a particular area of “competence”.
Venice is indeed a unique city and I consider myself very lucky to have such an artistic heritage so close at hand, but for me, there is much more to this city. Its link to its cats is a relationship of mutual necessity: cats are essential to Venice and Venice seems the most suitable city for cat life, both for safety (there are no cars!!) and for the respect shown by its inhabitants toward nature of this animal. Many cats are free not only to roam, but also to choose where to stay, without being chased away, as it, unfortunately, happens often in other cities.
Several stories have been told to me: about shop owners’ cats who have elected another place as their check-point, to which they return at the end of their wanderings, welcomed with joy by the “new owners”, proud that the cat has chosen them; about many others that have changed residence after the arrival of a second unwelcome feline guest; about some that simply love to go and greet people at their business activities before returning to their own, perhaps avoiding the conflict zones with not so sociable felines. There is a fascinating intertwining of stories, personalities, decisions, and liberties that these cats can tell about, and I believe this to be the great beauty of this project. All are enriched by the respect and pride with which the Venetians narrate and welcome their cats.
In the beginning, I worried about the reaction of people when confronted by a girl interested in photographing their cats and asking for information about them, but I found out that many, I would say almost all, were happy to reveal something about the lives of their four-legged friends. So I collected the various reports, created a special map on my GPS system and at least once a week I go there in search of the cats that were pointed out to me. As for the choice of style, I have always been a great fan of black and white photography, which I consider to be more in my style and to be able to “clean up” the photographs from any unnecessary distraction, conveying emotions more vividly and giving the right emphasis to their subject.
In this case, then, having the advantage of a timeless background like Venice, I thought that black and white would do more justice to the beauty of this immortal city. I am so very close to each and every cat I had the honor to photograph until today that I cannot point out the most captivating story: there is Wendy, who, after the arrival of a second cat, has moved some doors further down and does not want to return home; Poldo, who loves spending his days in a bookshop rather than at his bakery; Ravi, who does not get along with his neighbor Sandrone, while he, very sociable, often goes to greet his human friend at the bookbinder; Biagio, the true institution of the university for 18 years... and I could go on forever, but rather than that, I invite everyone to discover what I’m talking about by leafing through the pages of this book, wishing you to get lost in the streets of Venice while looking at the photos and reading the stories of the Cats of Venice.
If it may be of interest, together with some experts in feline behavior, I am carrying out a series of meetings on the theme of 'Liberi di essere Gatti ' (free-to-be-cats).
Practically analyzing the photographs of Cats in Venice, which portray cats as free to move in an urban context, even if clearly unique in their kind, we have the opportunity to talk about feline behavior and the richness of their life that we often do not have the opportunity to see, not to judge or give directives on the management of cats but more for awareness in making people more aware of the responsibility we assume when, with the best intentions, we make decisions in the name of cats; asking yourself questions and learning more about these mysterious animals can help improve their lives and our relationship with them.
When it comes to photographing these creatures, well, first of all, it is necessary to distinguish the type of cat that you want to go to photograph: when I started with cat photography, I immediately dedicated myself to cats I met by chance during walks in the hills near home, and, in this situation, the only possible solution was to equip myself with a nice telephoto lens (70-300 mm) that allows me to photograph lucky encounters while keeping the right distance; each cat has a limit of tolerance for the proximity of a stranger which is subjective and which must not be exceeded in order not to risk seeing the opportunity for a successful shot vanish.
In Venice, and therefore to cats that live in work environments or that walk free in the streets of Venice, the type of cat I came into contact with was and is completely different: they are cats used to interacting with people or, in any case, to staying in crowded environments, which therefore allows you to obtain a greater result often (even taking photographs for exactly opposite reasons: as soon as I try to crouch to photograph them at the right height, I find them rubbing on my knees!!).
After the first trips to Venice, where I carried all the equipment I could with me, I got rid of the weight of the reflex and the telephoto lens to switch to a lighter mirrorless with a simple 16-50 mm (with a lot of thanks from my shoulders!!). Loving very much the set photos, for these photographic projects in particular, I like to be able to see the subject well inserted in the context that surrounds it since it is often an activity of artisans or the timeless beauty of a magnificent city like Venice. So, depending on what type of photo you want to take, it is important to have the right equipment, a little common sense in understanding how far we can get, but above all a lot, a lot of patience, understood both as the ability to wait for the right moment and as an aptitude to accept that a cat will never or almost do what we expect - or what we hope - it will do at that particular moment. And, finally, fundamental, a little knowledge and a lot of respect for an animal that is still shrouded in mystery and a truly irresistible one.