The Photographed Cat:
Picturing Human-Feline Ties, 1890-1940
Arnold Arluke & Lauren Rolfe
Syracuse University Press, 2013
From the book jacket: “With more than 130 illustrations, The Photographed Cat: Picturing Human-Feline Ties, 1890-1940 is both an archive and an analytical exploration of the close relationships between people and their cats during a period significant for photography and for modern understandings of animals as pets. This volume examines the cultural implications of feline companions while also celebrating the intimacy and joys of pets and family photographs. In seven thematic sections, Arluke and Rolfe engage with the collection of antique images as representations of both real and ideal relationships, nothing the cultural tends and tropes that occur. Whether as surrogate children, mascots or companions to women, cats are a part of modern American life and visual culture.
“Entertaining, smart, and filled with a collector’s trove of wonderful images, The Photographed Cat pays homage to the surprising range of relationships we have with cats and offers thoughtful consideration of the ways in which represent them.”
The Photographed Cat is more of a scholarly work than a book of photographs. The photos are really wonderful and I wish there were more of them. While people have changed the way they look, cats don’t ever change. The cat next to the little boy in 1890 looks like the cat sitting next to a child today which goes to show you humans how reliable and faithful we are!!
I will admit that I really didn’t read the book. When my Aunt Sabina picked-up this book from the library, she thought it was a coffee table book. But as I looked at it, I realized I didn’t want to read the “analytical exploration of the close relationships between people and their cats” as much as look at the lovely photographs. From the few snippets I did read the book is fascinating but a bit like reading homework for a sociology course. So, I just mainly stuck to the photographs and enjoyed them a lot.
Rating: 4 out of 5 paws because the photograph collection is amazing!!