Introducing a guest post from Marianna Zampieri is an honor for me. If you’ve read my post about her and other great photographers, then you already know what I think about this girl: she’s a game-changer about wedding photography and street photography since she decided that cats had to play the main role in this genres. I’m a cat photographer too and I’m really amazed about how different the way of portraiting pets can be. Dear reader, here are Marianna’s words:
“I shoot photos to cats for passion. It’d be better said that I shoot photos for passion towards cats. That’s it. I’m often questioned about my beginnings and I must always line a distinction between the moment I began to be cat enthusiast (I don’t love the expression “cat lady“, because of the negative implications of the term) and the moment I began to photograph.
I’ve always been a cat lover, I don’t know why, but I always felt a sort of attraction for felines -in general, and for cats especially.
Photography came after, I think as an attempt to “explain” what I see. I’m not that good with words, I prefer to express myself with images and, having a rather introvert personality, I find my comfort zone behind the camera.
Moreover, this art allows me to approach a lot of cats, each of them different from the other,
so what could I ask? I started specializing myself in photographing cats in a 2015 project -called “Passions“- portraiting them with their human friends. This project later evolved in “C-AT Work“, portraiting cats that live in workplaces; a distance project now crossing its first finish line: After more than 40 completed chapters, the photographies and the stories of the “working cats” will be gathered in 3 books, strictly black and white. It’s still running “Cats in Venice” (a book already published in 2018), that tells through images -and their stories in the caption- the enchanting lives of Venice cats, merging felines’ beauty to the beauty of this immortal and unique city. Why photographing cats? Honestly, I often ask myself the same question, sometimes rueing the day I took this decision; and I usually think this at the exact moment the subject that I want to immortalize decides my time is over, without giving me the chance to look in the viewfinder. Maybe I could have chosen easier -or just more cooperative- subjects, but…you know, the heart wants what it wants. So I learned to cohabit with a shot-never-shot frustration and euphory and satisfaction of photos with a huge (for me) sentimental value.
Those occasions in which you’re allowed to connect to a cat or in which people, looking to a pics of mine, tell me I exactly portraited their cat, well, they’re priceless moments.
I don’t have special tricks, I don’t approach cats using food or treats; I just indulge, when necessary, in getting their attention moving my hands, gesturing like a mad and playing with them.
It’s essential for me that images are natural, never forced and keeping the experience funny for everybody, either I shoot for my projects or for clients.
Venice is now my weekly gym, where I walk miles over miles. The people I met in workplaces, that I visit to meet the working cats, saw me in the weirdest postures: I spend most of the time laying on the ground or keeping my bottom up, maybe wielding staffs as they were magic wands. This is my Catographer world (I like to call myself that way, ’cause I don’t see myself as a full photographer yet). You’re welcome!”