Photographer Arne Svenson is no stranger at taking ordinary objects and aiming his lens to expose them in a whole new light. His fascinating 2011 book "Chewed" took a look into the world of discarded pet toys, while his latest project gives us a new perspective on some of the cutest little creatures on earth.
Svenson's upcoming book, "Strays," features vivid photographs of over 75 six-week-old kittens with their faces turned away from the camera. He tells Today: "A lot of my work has to do with taking something recognizable and looking at it in a different way,” he said. “The typical way of photographing kittens is to have them looking at you with their big eyes. By having them turn their head, I was able to show an autonomous being that is not just there to entertain us.”
Svenson used garish fabrics he purchased at the Salvation Army to make interesting backdrops, and "borrowed" his feline models from Animalkind, Inc., a cat rescue organization located in Hudson, NY. It took two years and hundreds of takes to get just the right shots for the book, which is scheduled for release in August. He even ended up adopting one of the kittens, which he named Monkey.
“When I tell people that I am taking portraits of kittens looking backwards there is usually stunned silence,” says Svenson. “But then they see the photos and find themselves moved. I think it has to do with the fact that you have to think. When you look at a photo of a kitten looking at you, you react to its cuteness, but as soon as its head turns away, you can build your own emotions into it.”
"Strays" will be released on August 15, 2012 and is available now for pre-order on Amazon. Click over to Svenson's website to get a preview of more images in the series, along with a look at some of his other work.