Masayuki Oki is a Japanese photographer who wanders the streets of Tokyo to take pictures of its cats. But don’t rush to imagine cute portraits of elegant or sleeping furry beings! Oki documents every, and we mean EVERY possible grimace these creatures can make so that you can create “your current mood” memes every single day.
So scroll down for some funny and cute photographs of stray cats.
Bored Panda got in touch with Masayuki Oki again to ask him more about his creative process and himself. The artist shared that before he started photographing cats, he worked in the clothing industry specializing in women’s clothing. As part of his job, Masayuki had to take pictures of clothes as well as customers. That’s where he learned all the subtleties of photography.
Photography quickly became Oki’s hobby but little did he know that it would grow into something more. It was in 2013 when the artist met his first furry model. Here’s how he tells the story: “It was New Year’s Eve and I was very exhausted. I went to a nearby park to have a break where I met a cat in the middle of the road. From the time I met it, the course of my life changed greatly. The more I was looking at the cat, the bigger an urge I felt to photograph it. A passion was born in my heart. I’ve always liked cats, but I was unable to keep them due to my living environment and I couldn’t see them as subjects because I didn’t have the peace of mind to do so. The next day in 2014 I picked up my camera and started taking pictures of cats.
When I uploaded the photos I took on social media, I received exaggerated compliments from people all over the world. A year later, in the spring of 2015, I quit the company for no reason.”
“I didn’t know anything about cats until I started taking pictures of them. I thought they looked cute. However, when I actually observed them through the viewfinder, I realized that cats have emotions, and their coats, attitudes, tail movements, and facial expressions made me realize how emotionally rich they are.
Also, I thought that cats were solitary creatures, but in the community, cats have complicated relationships like people (like siblings but they don’t get along, or they are sociable and take the initiative to greet everyone). By getting to know them, I discovered the cuteness of their inner nature and wanted to capture that moment.”
“I want to show people that cats do even more cute and mysterious things when they’re out of sight. I want to tell many people that cats are much cuter than you can imagine and that they live their life to the fullest.”
The artist rarely finds it difficult to photograph cats because they are easy to shoot. “The cats you see are always sleeping or staring somewhere far away. They can look cute no matter who’s taking pictures of them. I try to express my own personality by holding the camera and observing the cat’s behavior (eye movements and reactions). Once you know the quirks, you can predict the future and find the best shooting position. What I enjoy the most is when I learn something more about cats during the process of shooting.”
“I would like to express the natural and spontaneous appearance of cats without carrying toys or food for them. So it often depends on the mood of the supermodel and what kind of pictures I am gonna get. It’s often the case that I can’t capture a good moment, but it makes me very happy just to know that the cat is doing well. Also, when I approach a cat with a goal, it guesses it and doesn’t do anything at all. That’s why I’m just focusing on taking pictures. If I have too many things on my mind, I will get confused about which finger to press the shutter with, so I am conscious of looking directly at what is in front of me now.”
“I want to shoot cats all over the world. Also, I would like to hold a photo exhibition where all cat lovers around the world could feel happy when looking at the pictures. Additionally, I would like to publish photobooks and have serials in magazines.”
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