Wanderlust and a sense of professional adventure took Lorraine Chittock to Cairo in 1991 to work as a magazine photographer. Her fascination with the camel trade culminated in the coffee-table book, Shadows in the Sand: Following the Forty Days Road, an account of her arduous trek along an ancient caravan route from Sudan into Egypt.
Cairo Cats looks at another creature which is as intrinsic a part of Egyptian culture as the camel. During her seven years in Cairo, she explored the nooks and crannies where the feline denizens of the city hide in order to obtain her intimate portraits of these wary inhabitants.
Venice regains its natural rhythms in the winter when the sightseers have departed and the residents can move throughout their city unhindered by tourists. In the spring, I abandoned the well-trodden paths and was able to sense the quiet life of the local people.
One afternoon, I came upon a woman feeding stray cats in a park. When I approached and took her picture, she became visibly upset. I tried to get her approval, but she would not say anything. To avoid upsetting her, I joined a child who was watching as the woman fed her cats.
Each cat received a portion of the meal: ground meat mixed with pasta. When the cats finished, she cleaned up and handed dry food to the cats that still looked unsatisfied. As I left, I said good-bye and she finally smiled.
Another morning, I ran into a man feeding stray cats in a plaza next to a canal. In my poor Italian, I asked permission to snap some photos. He grudgingly said okay, but seemed suspicious: why would this strange tourist want to take his picture. I, of course, could not converse with him in Italian, but I wanted to photograph him feeding the cats. I did not see him again even though I returned to the same plaza a few days later.
We also have a surprise for you today. What about a free copy of the new book Embracing Your Divinity by Laura Emily.
In her book, Laura Emily teaches us to appreciate and notice our inner being. By taking the reader on a journey through her own experiences, Laura teaches us to listen to the universe and allow ourselves to follow the path the universe is trying to take us on. She tries to make us understand that even though we may not think the universe is on our side or that things are not meant to happen, something has not happened yet because we, as individuals, are not yet ready to receive this event. Once we accept the universe's plan and allow things to happen, whether they are good or bad, only then can we truly reach our full potential.
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Look beyond the mountain views, hiking routes, chocolate, and cuckoo clocks. The small village of Gimmelwald in the Canton of Bern in Switzerland is all about... cats.
Gimmelwald hangs on the edge of a cliff, high above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and is inaccessible by car because there is no road connection. Therefore, it is one of Switzerland's best-kept secrets.
With just over one hundred inhabitants, one wouldn't expect to see many felines in this place. But don't be mistaken; cats are almost everywhere you go in this sleepy village.
One of Gimmelwald's cats even managed to become an international news item, when a hiker got lost in the mountains, and the nifty little "guide" showed him the way back to civilization. You can read this cat's full story and see pictures here.
“The ancient Egyptians did everything to make their cats happy,” writes Annemarie Schimmel in the book Cairo Cats: Egypt's Enduring Legacy. “They were groomed and bathed, anointed with fragrant oils, and of course fed with excellent food for a cat's life was as important as a human life, and even during famines some food was apportioned to cats.”
In Egypt it was not unknown for someone who killed a cat to be executed or, if he happened to be caught in the act, lynched by the furious masses.
Today, as these photographs prove, the mystique of the cat is still very much alive in the Egyptian environment.
In many cases, they’re loved and accepted, though most will still live outside the majority of the time.
However, there’s another side to the story here. For some reason, a large group of the population thinks that cats are “dirty”, and will discriminate and act terribly toward them.
I met people who had lived in the city for years, and they told tales of being kicked out of houses they were renting with no warning because the owner didn’t like the fact that they had cats in the house explicitly because they thought cats were filthy.
I’ve heard tales of neighbors becoming enraged when they found out the people I met had been feeding the kittens that lived in the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, overpopulation is a big issue in Thailand, too, as many people do not believe they should spay or neuter the local animals. Even if they did, many of them do not have the extra money in their budget to pay for the surgery.
However, I am happy to say that I experienced more of the good than the bad, and met so many beautiful kitties along the way.
From the beautiful cat who so casually jumped onto my chair to clean herself when I was about to start working at the coworking space, to the tiny kitten we came across down one of the back roads who just wanted to be held, my “cat radar” was always going at maximum capacity.
If you decide to take a relaxing trip to Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand, just watch your step when you’re walking down the alleys and inside the shops, because you’re bound to come across a furry face multiple times every day!
Buy a cat portrait and help the people (and cats) of Puerto Rico rebuild. All profits go to Puerto Rico hurricane relief.
"Around this time last year, I had the good fortune of finding myself in Puerto Rico for the first time," says A/J Jackson. "Just a few months later the devastating wrath of Hurricane Maria would sweep through and destroy much of the beauty I witnessed, leaving millions in a dire situation."
"After donating to various Puerto Rican hurricane relief charities I had an idea for another way I might be able to help. While going through my photos from the trip, I noticed a lot of really interesting images of Old San Juan's street cats. Something about them was captivating, like they were old souls wandering the timeless streets of the barrio. I thought, if there is one thing the Internet loves more than anything...it's cats. So I decided to start this philanthropic experiment in hopes that people's desire to help those in need and their endless love of cats might merge together to form the perfect charitable package."
Today, it is estimated that 11% of the population of Puerto Rico is still without power. Many people are without reliable access to clean water. And, for others, damage to buildings and communications infrastructure during the storm has made it difficult to find and keep work. Some estimates suggest that in the wake of Hurricane Maria the poverty rate in Puerto Rico has increased from 44% to 52%, and may reach as high as 59% this year.
When you buy a cat portrait, you will help the people and cats of Puerto Rico rebuild. All the photos are signed and printed using the highest quality standards from Art Works Fine Art Publishing in Highland Park, CA and matte framed by hand by Mission Framing of Los Angeles. 100% of the profits go to Puerto Rico hurricane relief and will be donated to Roofs for the Caño and the Humane Society of Puerto Rico.