Purrfect match: cats and their human doubles | Artwork and design

If you’ve spent a lot time on the web over the previous decade, chances are high you’ve seen some cats on there. Cats chasing their very own tails. Cats trying ill-judged jumps from one piece of furnishings to a different. Or, within the case of Gerrard Gethings, a cat who regarded precisely just like the actor David Schwimmer. “There’s one thing in regards to the form of Schwimmer’s face that’s fairly fascinating,” says the London-based photographer, “and the cat had precisely the identical face. That pushed me over the sting, into considering there was one thing in it.”

Dominic and Merlin
Nancy and Buttons
Arlo and Buttercup

In 2018, Gethings had created a collection of pictures of canine that resemble individuals – based mostly on appears to be like, angle or coiffure – which turned a bestselling memory-card recreation, matching poodles and chow chows with their human counterparts. “Everybody’s seen somebody who appears to be like like a canine. It’s been an thought for ever,” he says. “However I don’t suppose individuals have thought, ‘That particular person appears to be like lots like a cat.’ I suppose there’s a feline high quality some individuals can have, however not in the identical approach. They don’t have large beards, or issues canine have, like a centre parting and lengthy hair – simple matches. Cats are tougher.”

Cat Lookalike 1 – pink

The people will not be the animals’ actual homeowners, however fashions chosen by means of a casting course of. The cat portraits got here first, then Gethings sought out lookalikes, both based mostly on the cat’s markings, a pose they unexpectedly made (one cat with its paws within the air recalled a raver; one other in a pugilistic pose reminded him of a good friend who’s a boxer), or, within the case of some cats, with a celeb they dropped at thoughts. For the cat with the white walrus moustache, Gethings’ supreme match was The Factor actor Wilford Brimley. He posted a callout on Instagram, and “somebody in Edinburgh obtained in contact to say that her dad was his double. He was such an incredible lookalike that I hopped on a practice and shot him at his house. They’re one among my favorite pairs.”

For the cat who appears to be like like a Hells Angel , “I posted an image of Hagrid on Instagram, and mentioned, ‘Does anybody know anybody who appears to be like like this?’ And this man got here again and mentioned, ‘I look precisely like that.’ And he did. Actually, I feel he’s a Hagrid impersonator – that’s his job.”

Cat Lookalike 2 – Gunther and Albert (Unique Longhair)
Matthew and Hubert (Abyssinian)

Everybody Gethings approached for the undertaking mentioned sure. “A few of them have been a bit confused by the concept. However I’d already carried out it with the canine, and cats are lots better-looking than canine, on the entire. It’s simpler than saying, ‘You appear like a French bulldog.’ For those who say, ‘You appear like a cat,’ I feel persons are fairly flattered.”

Capturing the cats was a extra arduous course of, involving treats, cajoling, and “a couple of scratches – to not me, however to homeowners when the cat obtained fed up”. In distinction to the canine, who willingly got here into his studio, Gethings needed to go to every cat at their house. Armed with cat toys and snacks, he travelled from Norfolk to Scotland, Bristol to Cumbria, figuring out that there was no assure the shoot would work.

Greater than as soon as he turned up at a home and the cat flat-out refused to return out from underneath the mattress, till Gethings left, “feeling fairly defeated and an enormous failure”. Different instances, he would arrange the gear and lights round a small desk, “and the cats would soar up and sit on the desk superbly, lick their paws and simply watch what was occurring as I arrange the backdrop”. Then, as quickly as he obtained his digicam out, “they’d soar off and conceal and by no means come again. It appeared nearly deliberate.”

Cat Lookalikes – Tobias and Hero

The imperious-looking cat paired with the delicate lady in a gray fur stole was one of many trickiest to {photograph}. “The cat appears to be like actually calm, nevertheless it spent the primary hour hiding underneath the furnishings, and this was in all probability the one good shot we achieved. It was immobile for a fraction of a second. It required each trick within the e book: laser pointers, clockwork mice, spiders, doorbells, duck calls, birds on strings – even my son’s whoopee cushion.”

Marielle and Jacques (Silver Maine Coon)

Knowledgeable animal portraitist, through the years Gethings has photographed goats, cows, sheep, pigeons and bumblebees (“I’ve discovered lots about bee behaviour – they’re actually zen”), in addition to the pets of celebrities, together with Elle Macpherson, Gok Wan, Mark Ronson and Brix Smith Begin. He began his profession as an summary painter and labored within the studio of legendary portrait photographer Terry O’Neill. However whereas the work was “fascinating – I met a number of well-known individuals”, taking photographs of celebrities didn’t really feel like the fitting match.

An encounter with a superb artwork e book by Tim Flach, who photographed canine in studio settings, was a eureka second. “It had by no means occurred to me that you may do the form of work that Terry did – high-end portraiture – of animals.” Across the similar time, he obtained a border terrier pet, Baxter, now 12 years previous. Unsurprisingly, the 2 of them have lots in widespread. “We each have beards, the identical hair color and are beginning to go gray. We like cats, are obsessive about meals, love the seaside, share the identical buddies and by no means need to exit at evening. We’re actually very related.”

Do You Look Like Your Cat? A Matching Sport by Gerrard Gethings/@gezgethings and Debora Robertson is launched on 12 October, laurenceking.com

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