Monday, June 13, 2016

Cats & Lions and Curious Cats by Mitsuaki Iwago

Featuring a bonus week of cat-related recommendations, along with the regular reviews.  Seeing as a I even started a Facebook page for our cat, Rascal, I think I may have become a little obsessed with cats and things cat-related, and there is plenty of cat-related material to enjoy!

When you think “cat photos,” you probably recall cat pictures in those inspirational books paired with motivational sayings, and, if you notice the pictures, it is to note that they are “cute”.  In both Cats & Lions and Curious Cats, professional photographer, Mitsuaki Iwago, takes cat photos to a different level.  This is a quick read, with the photos being the star attraction, plus a little text here and there. The photos are simply gorgeous, inviting you to take a moment to admire them.  The photos are vibrant, capture the moment beautifully, depict so much character, and evoke such emotion, taking it beyond just cute cat pictures.  The book layout presents the pictures at their best. The background adds to the photos in a subtle way that balances out the subject. All of the photos look like they are taken outside, and the natural light adds to the vibrancy.

“When cats are happy, people are happy, and the Earth is happy.”  Curious Cats features photos to illustrate this theme—cats being curious and being fascinating creatures to be curious about.  He captures a wide range of moments: cats playing, exploring, resting, spending time with others, and moving.  The layout is nice, with sometime solo shots or a combination of takes for a subject. There is a mix of single cats, families, or several playing together. The few lines of  text fit the tone and add to it without getting too sappy.

"Cats are small lions. Lions are big cats." That line says it all. With Cats & Lions, Iwago pairs photos of cats and lions in similar poses, and it is fascinating to see the similarities despite the obvious size differences.  He captures them in so many moments--eating, hunting, stalking, leaping, climbing, grooming, moving, hiding, playing, and mothers with their babies.  Pictures are paired, sometimes in parallel positions, in opposing directions, multiple pairings on one page, or a full page spread for each pair. The contrast and similarities between the cats and lions are fascinating.

Look for both Cats & Lions and Curious Cats in the VBPL Catalog.  For more cat photography, try Carli Davidson’s Shake Cats. For photos paired with stories, read A Letter to My Cat (see review) and Jim Tews’ Felines of New York.

Review by Tracy V.

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