Unlike the affectionate canine companions that grace many of Elke Vogelsang’s portraits, the cats she finds in front of her camera exhibit more irritable, even stereotypical emotions. She captures her feline subjects with a range of reactions, whether snarling and baring their teeth or showing off their more playful sides with leaps into the air or a quick flick of their tongues.
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A professional pet portraitist, Vogelsang mostly visits her subjects at their homes rather than bringing them to her Hildesheim studio. This tends to make the animals more comfortable, she shares, at least enough for her to coax out more genuine emotions with the help of string, feathers, treats, and sometimes catnip for mood-boosting. “Let’s face it, cats can be so much harder to photograph than dogs. If they can’t be bothered, they won’t do it for our sake,” she says. “In general, sessions with cats are shorter than sessions with dogs. They are the ones to determine the schedule.”