The French Cat


Rachel Hale’s lovely coffee table book, The French Cat takes the reader on a photographic tour of France and its feline inhabitants. As a new immigrant to France from New Zealand, Hale embarked on a photographic ethnography employing no studio, additional lighting or Photoshop. Through her effervescent photographs, Hale reveals the culture, personality, beauty, and quirkiness of the country, its people, and their cats. From graveyard strays napping on ancient tombstones to indoor chateau cats with their own library to recline in, Hale leaves no feline unnoticed, even resorting to camping out for hours with treats and toys to get her shot. Each photograph reveals the cat’s personality and, along with it, the character of the surroundings. In the accompanying narrative, Hale details her move to France describing how this project helped her integrate into the French way of living and learn the language. Hale explains the stories behind some of the memorable and elusive cats she documented, imbuing each image with yet more life. With quotes from famous French authors, artists, poets, and playwrights, Hale intersperses the narrative and photographs with tidbits revealing how cats have influenced French life and art.—LE

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