“I spent a few months in private sessions with all of them to establish a deep and unearthly connection.” Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek opens up about his series snapping cats mid-air
Meet Ume, Elli, Flitzie, Nevio and Fiffy – the feline subjects recently catapulted to fame by Vienna-based photographer Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek, who created a series of photographs capturing them jumping. They leap through the air past houseplants and bookshelves, hop in front of a bathtub or scrabble towards a giant stuffed tiger, tiny paws outstretched. Simple as it sounds, it is utterly joyful.
Contrary to popular opinion, this pounce (note: the collective noun for cats) is not otherwise known for their agility: we simply don’t often see them in such moments. “One might think these are some special cats with super power who are able to fly through their homes,” says Gebhart de Koekkoek, earnestly. “But they are just normal house cats, like everyone else. It's all about making them easy and relax so they let loose.”
Dedicating himself over a prolonged period (when asked how long for, his only response is that “cats don’t have any sense of time”), Gebhart de Koekkoek hid around corners and behind large objects to capture the surreptitious shots. “I spent a few months in private sessions with all of them to establish a deep and unearthly connection before we started to even think about taking any pictures,” he explains. “After our longterm private sessions I hide myself in some secret places at their homes and wait for them to do all the magic by themselves. Sometimes this took several days. But in the end they took off, jumping, and it was easy for me to capture them.”
How can one resist the images which emerge from such an assignment? Fortunately you don’t have to – they’re available to purchase either as prints, or as a handy calendar. And you can rest assured that the animals’ welfare is Gebhart de Koekkoek’s absolute priority. “They enjoyed it a lot and also love the resulting pictures.” Very, very good to know.