Photographer Carli Davidson has spent over seven years of her life working in animal care -- training at zoos, rescue centers and nature preserves; fostering medically or behaviorally needy pets; serving as an animal rights activist. With such an impressive resume, it's not surprising that she's turned her lens to one of the more unpredictable, ornery yet unceasingly photogenic members of the animal kingdom: domesticated cats.
In her new book, SHAKE CATS, Davidson not only snaps portraits of some of the most handsome felines around, she photographs them shaking their pristine bodies, sometimes feverishly and other times lazily, in what amounts to a laughably captivating photo series fit for Lil Bub. (No, really, she's in the series.) The point of the project? To emphasize the importance of pet rescue, of course.
The "SHAKE CATS" project began back in 2011, the same year Davidson shot her first "SHAKE" series comprised of lovably spastic dogs. Nearly all of her 60 cat models are rescues from Portland, Oregon, who tolerated a team of professional animal care technicians goading them into shaking before the camera (a Nikon D4S for those interested).
Davidson and her assistants Amanda Giese and Tanya Paul conducted nail trimmings and ear cleanings to get the cats to shake, followed by what Davidson assures the critical reader was a whole lot of "treats and cat cuddles." Along with the shaking photos, she also snapped headshots of the cats for their respective rescue center website. Most cats, Davidson says, were adopted almost immediately after the photo shoots.
Davidson has loved cats since she was five years old, when she returned home from a local animal shelter with a large yellow tabby named Hulk Hogan. She hopes that her photos advocate for the importance of pet adoptions, as well as underscore the positive impact of cat-related humor online and elsewhere.
"I believe that animal rescue is a revolutionary act of love, and I want that energy reflected in my work," she explained in a press statement, reiterating the importance of adopting older pets particularly. "When you rescue you are creating space and empathizing with another being that needs the same things we all need to feel safe, shelter, food, affection, and patience. Simply put you save a life, you are that animal’s hero."
See a preview of SHAKE CATS below.
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