Meg had Chanan photograph her red girl, GRC Anubis Kuki Airani, at the show, and I was lucky enough to be around to watch him work.
Knowing I’d want to make a post about meeting the famous Chanan in person as soon as I could, I took photos of their session with my Hipstamatic.
It was really great to meet Richard, and he has some amazing stories to tell.
He seems to not only love his work, but he obviously has a lot of fun doing it.
He’s a one-man show, using only a hand-held Canon DSLR in one hand and a long wand cat toy in the other.
He has a large collection of long dowels with different types of toys on the end; he said that there’s always a tip that some cat will go for.
You have to be really alert while watching him ply a cat with one of the sticks; when he flicks the stick back, anyone in the “danger zone” is at risk of being clobbered in the face.
The man is a serious cat whisperer. That was the best thing about watching him work.
He works in a semi-enclosed space, and the cats could easily jump off the table and escape under the curtain or through the open side…but they don’t.
Jacoby was really cranky this weekend (a male cat peed somewhere in the show hall and it set him off), but Richard managed to calm him down, and he got some amazing shots.
He even took a couple of me and Jake together in costume, and yes, my inner 7th grader was flailing around in a major squee the whole time I was posing. I mean, not only was I having one of my cats photographed by Chanan…but he was photographing me, too!
You may notice that Richard wears knee pads while he’s working.
Those aren’t to save his knees, he explained.
He wears them, he said, because his wife was tired of him coming home with holes in the knees of his pants. “She said, ‘you’re not a six year old! You shouldn’t be wearing out the knees of your pants like that!'” he told me.
I only wish I had not been so shy the first day of the show; I didn’t approach him til towards the end of the first day.
He was also set up at the opposite end of the show hall from where we were benched, so it was hard to spend a lot of time watching and talking to him while he worked.
But you know how when you meet someone you’re a fan of, and you’re a little afraid they won’t live up to this image you’ve created of them in your head?
Well, that didn’t happen here, and I think that’s the best part of the weekend, to be honest.
Incidentally, this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine featured a photo of Richard working with a Sphynx in Santa Monica. Considering he was in striking distance of Manhattan the same weekend it was published, it’s a pretty amazing coincidence.