In July 1871, the ill-fated Crystal Palace in South East London played host to the worlds very first cat show. It was the brainchild of the artist and animal lover Harrison Weir, who conceived the show in order to emphasise and celebrate the beauty of the domestic pet. In Victorian Britain animal cruelty was rife and this show aspired to eliminate it by placing a spotlight on the virtues of the average feline.
Cat shows are now incredibly popular throughout the UK and America, yet in current times the subjects under scrutiny are no longer average domestic pets, but are pedigrees bred specifically to enter such competitions and win monetary prizes. Cat shows are big business these days.
Being a massive cat lover, I embarked on a project inspired by the original sentiment of Harrison’s cat show by taking staged, lit portraits of domestic felines. None of the cats featured have been exhibited in shows, yet all are equally beautiful in the eyes of their owners. I photographed them all in the same way with the same background so as to enhance their individuality, and opted to include an element of furnishing to perhaps add insight into the character of the owner also.