David Tanen has had a passion for photography for many years. He’s been taking pictures for thirty years and has been recognized as an accomplished photographer for twenty years. But it was only very recently that Tanen began to focus on a very specific genre of his craft: feline photography.
Raised in New Jersey, his grandmother bought him a Kodak Instamatic when he was ten-years-old, and he has been hooked ever since. “I could create these scenes with my army men, race cars, etc., and photograph them,” said Tanen. “I also had a high school English teacher, Dr. Cone, at Red Bank Regional High School in New Jersey, who would take his honors class to New York to visit art museums like the Metropolitan Museum Of Art. He would explain the paintings, how they were balanced and the importance of light and color. This was how I learned about basic composition and the significance of light which I began to put to use in my photography, particularly when I began to travel.”
During college he spent a summer in Europe with friends and took hundreds of pictures while they were traveling. While doing all this he discovered his calling and pursued photography as a career. Two years ago, Tanen used his passion for photography and decided to takes pictures of cats.
“I came across this colony of feral cats at the beach in Sea Bright, New Jersey by accident about two years ago late one winter afternoon,” Tanen said. He saw these cats scurrying around in the dunes, above and below the boardwalk, around the parking lot. He was amazed at the variety and of how healthy and beautiful they were. He admits however that taking pictures of these cats wasn’t an easy task. “The cats weren’t too thrilled about me hanging around and I was also stopped by a policeman once who wasn’t too thrilled either. It seems the cats had also been noticed by the town, and the police were looking to see if I was feeding them. I developed quite a collection of these photographs over time and the quality of the pictures improved as I got closer to the cats.”
He sorted through his best photos and that was when he decided to use them for a calendar. “It was one of those ‘build it and they will come’ projects,” says Tanen. Instead of finding charities, he decided to print out 1,000 of his own calendars, then went around to the humane organizations to see if they could be of use as a fundraising tool. Most of the proceeds from the calendars benefitted Alley Cat Allies, for more information visit: www.alleycat.org.