I think you probably know that as well as being a fan of walking, I’m also a fan of “street photography” - a term that admittedly seems to be becoming increasingly dodgy.
Recently I have also become, very belatedly, and in a mild sort of way, rather fond of cats. And I think my fondness for cats may have something to do with walking – in that you have to “take” a dog for a walk, whereas cats insist on walking by themselves. My cat may follow me from one room to another, but the idea of “going for a walk” with her seems inconceivable. This is her:
One of my favorite photographers, Nobuyoshi Araki, is a great deal more than a street photographer, but he certainly takes photographs in the street, and sometimes he takes photographs of the cats he sees while he’s out walking. He also took an enormous number of photographs of his own cat Chiro. Like this one:
Araki, I think we can safely say, has published more books that any photographer ever has – certainly 400 plus - and one of them is titled Living Cats In Tokyo (Tokyo Neko Machi).
In some of the pictures the cat is front and center, sometimes the cat is very small and distant and it becomes a matter of “Where’s Felix?” But they’re all good.
I can tell you that it’s all too easy to walk around Tokyo with a camera, snapping away, and thinking you’re a bit of an Araki, and certainly the cats in Tokyo present themselves left and right, in endlessly photogenic configurations.
I can’t speak for the whole of the city, but wherever I was, whenever I stopped to look at a cat – I never got as far as petting one - a Japanese passerby would stop alongside me and say “kawaii” (which is one of the ten words of Japanese I know – meaning cute), as did this woman on her bike.
This Tokyo experience and Araki’s book made me realize that over the years, without thinking about it very much, I’ve taken quite a few photographs of cats while I’ve been out walking. I make no great claims for these pictures, all I can say is, “Wanna see some pictures of cats?” I understand that some people like that kind of thing.