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By Seth Casteel
Formats and Prices
- ebook $12.99 $16.99 CAD
- Hardcover $20.00 $26.00 CAD
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 18, 2016. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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A beautiful, funny gift book with more than 70 previously unpublished photographs, Pounce reveals adorable cats and kittens as they pounce and jump through the air, arms outstretched — all in Casteel’s signature up-close, mid-action style.
Some of you folks may know me as the Underwater Dogs guy. I obviously love dogs and have spent many years—full of curiosity and delight—chasing them around with a camera in hopes of better understanding why they are just so awesome. But you should know that before I was photographing dogs underwater I was photographing cats on land. That's how my career as a photographer and author actually began.
While working at a Los Angeles movie studio in 2007, I became friends with the "cat people" who cared for the community of cats living on the studio backlot. They provided food and water for the kitties but also ensured they were spayed and neutered. Life was pretty good for these kitties, and the word got out, which inspired more to move in. Not surprisingly, baby cats began popping up. My "cat people" friends became a little overwhelmed, and I, having just acquired my first digital SLR camera, offered my photographic assistance, although at the time I wasn't sure if I could truly help: I barely knew how to work the camera and had no idea how to work with cats.
One day, while a senior executive was out to lunch, we snuck the kittens into his office and let them pounce around on the furniture as I snapped candid pictures. And the pictures looked great! But let's be honest: I think it's impossible to take a bad picture of a kitten. Kittens are the cutest creatures on the planet!
Using the studio's email network, we blasted out the kitten pics and info to our colleagues. Apparently the email network was not intended for this kind of message, but we thought surely we couldn't get fired for helping kittens. And we were right. Not only did we keep our jobs, but because of the pictures, all the kittens were adopted within hours! It was at this moment that I realized the power of a photograph, and I became obsessed. I photographed another litter of homeless kittens. And then I started volunteering at the local animal shelter, photographing both cats and dogs, and then at another shelter, and then at shelters in different states, and then at shelters in different countries. I want to thank that litter of kittens for inspiring what has become my purpose in life—to try to make the world a better place through photography.
CREATING THE BOOK
For a while now I've been excited to make a photography book about cats. But to answer the question I am asked most often: after an extensive worldwide search for "cats who willingly dive into swimming pools," I found approximately zero participants. So unless something radically changes with the behavior of cats around water, Underwater Cats is permanently on hold.
For me, the only book to create about cats would feature them doing what they do best—pouncing! The undisputed number one instinct of cats, pouncing makes them among the most incredible creatures on earth. From their initial reaction upon seeing the prey to their stealthy stalk to their sudden burst of dynamic energy—watching a cat pounce inspires in us humans a range of emotions: respect, fear, joy, disbelief.
I collaborated with numerous animal shelters and rescue groups in the United States and Canada to create this series of images. Every single cat in this book was available for adoption or already rescued at the time I took the pictures. This project was by far the most challenging I ever experienced. Dogs are easy to photograph. Cats—not so much. A typical day of shooting for Pounce looked like this:
9:00 a.m.: Arrive at a home where an "amazing pouncing cat" lives.
11:00 a.m.: I have yet to see the cat.
11:45 a.m.: On a nearby wall, a shadow appears that resembles a cat, but it turns out it's just the dog again.
1:00 p.m.: At this point, I've heard the line "Cuuuuuudles, where aaare you?" at least a thousand times.
2:00 p.m.: Cuddles is carried out to the room where I am sitting. Finally I can begin to take pictures.
2:00 p.m. and three seconds: Cuddles is nowhere to be seen.
Even the friendliest cats can be wary of new people and new things, such as my camera and flashes. With dogs, I can bribe a friendship with a toy or a treat. With cats, it doesn't always work that way.
- On Sale
- Oct 18, 2016
- Page Count
- 112 pages
- Little, Brown and Company