“The Godfather Of Cat Photography” Passes Away at 98

Photographer and avid cat lover Walter Chandoha, “The Godfather of Cat Photography,” has passed away at the age of 98. For over seventy years he graced the world with his work, which featured animals and plants, and especially cats.

According to the New York Times, Chandoha was walking home in the winter of 1949 when he saw a small grey kitten shivering in the snow. He picked the cat up and put it into his jacket to take home to his wife, Maria. While watching the kitten play and run around their home, the couple decided to name him Loco.


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Loco, the cat that started it all. Photo by #WalterChandoha @cats_of_instagram #ChandohaCats #catsofinstagram #petstagram #catstagram #analog #catphotographer

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Chandoha originally intended to pursue a career in marketing, but found joy in photography, especially when his subjects were kitties! Loco helped Chandoha discover his passion – Chandoha called him “the cat that started it all.” The photos he took of Loco quickly sold, appearing in magazines and newspapers all over the world.

” Maybe it was subconscious gratitude on his part or maybe it was because he was my first adventure into cat photography and I spent more time taking pictures of him than of my other cats. And because I spent a lot of time with him I got to know his likes and dislikes, his preferences and his habits. And I think he got to know me and my family somewhat better. This familiarity between Loco and me resulted in many outstanding photographs.” (PUSS PUSS magazine)


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Meet Loco, the cat that started it all! Visit the @artnet blog for a piece on #WalterChandoha, the “godfather of cat photography”. Photo by Walter Chandoha @aperturenyc @cats_of_instagram @pusspussmag@catpeoplemagazine #WalterChandoha #ChandohaCats#catsofinstagram #petstagram #cat

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Over the years Chandoha took over 200,000 photos, about 90,000 feature cats as the subject. His photos were used mostly for advertisements for brands like Purina, but were also featured on over 300 magazine covers and 30 books. Chandoha’s love of cats is apparent in his work. In an interview with artnet News, he says:

“They’re more expressive than dogs, first of all. They get into more situations than dogs would ever dream of getting into and they vocalize so much differently—they purr and they snarl and they meow in different cadences. I prefer cats; they have so much more variety in their postures.

“Dogs are said to be man’s best friend, but cats are really attractive animals and appealing companions. At least that’s what I think, and I’ve been around them long enough to know!”

Chandoha kept cats in his family over the years, including Loco, Mitzi, and his last, Maddie. He believed in rescue and the love and friendship a cat can provide.

“Cats are such appealing pets who love their owners as much as they are loved, the photographs of their cats are a means of showing others the love of their life.” (PUSS PUSS magazine)

Walter Chandoha passed in his home in Annandale, New Jersey, where many of his photographs were taken.


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H/T: nytimes.com
Featured Photo: @chandohacats/Instagram

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