In a stroke of inspiration guaranteed to put a smile on your face, Vancouver, BC-based cat photographer Tania Hennessy has gone ahead and combined two of pretty much everyone’s very favourite things—kittens and emojis. The results are every bit as awesome as one would expect.
Tania has been “a cat lover as long as I can remember. I'm that person who points out every cat I see on a walk!” she says, laughing.
Her specialty is kittens, and she has lots of opportunity to photograph them, being a longtime volunteer for VOKRA, Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association. Tania and her husband, Mark Telfer, have a rotating cast of kittens come stay with them, many needing bottle-feeding in the early weeks of their stay. To date they’ve fostered over 150 cats and kittens.
This naturally led to Tania training her lens on her foster cats. “Photographing cats and kittens is part of your role as a foster, because amazing photos help them find their forever homes,” Tania explains. Her Emoji Kittens project proved a logical leap. “Emojis are the ultimate piece of pop culture symbolism, and kittens are the stars of the Internet. I couldn't believe that the two had never been paired in digital art.”
Another part of it was a desire to imbue the genre with “something fresh and new,” an antidote to the same cat images you see everywhere. “A lot of the kitten calendars you see feel as outdated as the mall kiosks that they're sold at,” she continues. Her resultant Emoji Kittens “turn those classic kitten poses loose in today's world, juxtaposing soft minimal pastel scenes with two-dimensional emojis.”
The process is necessarily slow, a pace Tania savours: “I love that cats are so challenging to photograph because they don't pose, sit or stay on command, and really just do what they want. Studio sessions typically include snacks and nap breaks when a kitty drifts off to sleep mid-pose.”
Her most popular emoji to date is—no surprise—the one of a kitten clutching her nose in wide-eyed surprise when confronted with the poop emoji. Tania’s personal favourite, however, remains the pairing of a girl-kitten with the doughnut emoji. Doughnut Kitten, as she's appropriately called, even has her own site, doughnutkitten.com, at which she simply travels across the screen, tracing pastel rainbows. (Get out your tablet and show doughnutkitten.com to your cat; Tania reports it’s a hit with her fosters who loving trying to catch Doughnut Kitten as she moves across the screen.)
And, great news, there are yet more Emoji Kittens on their way! “I still have so many more Emoji Kittens images that I can't wait to edit and release,” Tania enthuses. “We've also been holding the cutest auditions for 2017's Doughnut Kitten, who will be announced June 2nd.” Stay tuned!
Tania's Top 5 Cat-related Instagram Accounts To Follow:
For the cutest adpotable cats in Vancouver, BC
Life saving information for saving orphan kittens' lives
The Grandfather of cat photography
The most aesthetically pleasing cat on Instagram
Tamar introduces me to so many inspiring cat woman