Angel volunteers at her local animal shelter in The Netherlands and takes beautiful pictures of the cats and kittens who are waiting for their forever homes. She takes several pictures of each cat and selects her favorite two or three shots. Angel then gives those pictures to the shelter and they can choose which one to use for their database and website. She photographs two to three times a week at the shelter.
A conversation with Angel
What is the shelter like?
The shelter helps a lot of different animals like cats, dogs, (pet) birds, rabbits, hamsters, etc. The animals can stay at the shelter as long as they need to find a forever home. There is no time limit and no animal will be put down unless it is a medical necessity. There is also the possibility for cats and dogs to stay with us when their owners go on holiday. This is one of the ways the shelter makes money to look after the shelter animals.
How did you become interested in photography?
I’ve been interested in photography for as long as I remember. I used to travel a lot and was mostly focused on travel photography before. I even applied to go to art college at one point, but that didn’t work out. Now that I volunteer at the shelter, I take photos of cats. I think it works best if you take photos of a subject you are passionate about. It shows in your work.
When did you start taking pictures at the shelter?
I started working there as a volunteer over four years ago. Taking photos wasn’t on my mind during the first couple of years. Then I occasionally started taking photos just for myself. The shelter uses photos of the cats for their database and their website, but someone else was already taking care of that. I think it was about six months ago that the other person moved on to do other things and the people at the shelter asked me if I wanted to help provide them with photos.
What inspired you to start taking pictures at the shelter?
Volunteering at the shelter, one of the things that I enjoy the most is to help socialize the more “difficult” cats. By that I mean the shy cats, cats that are scared, cats that aren’t very familiar with humans. It takes a lot of time and patience to get these cats to open up and the shelter employees don’t always have the time to do that. So I would have my little projects, as we would call it, and I would get really attached to them. It’s a bit like fostering but at the shelter. I did get emotionally attached to a lot of them and that’s why I started taking photos. Just so I would have some memories of them when they would go to their forever homes.
What is the hardest part about taking pictures?
It’s important to me that the cats have no stress when I take photos. I prefer to spend time playing and cuddling first before taking the camera out. The more time I have, the better the photos. I only use my phone so it is less intrusive than an SLR camera. It does limit the kind of photos I can take. I would love to get more actions shots, but that would require an SLR with a good lens.
Do you have any pets at home?
I have one cat called Yukimarimo. She and her mama stayed with me last summer in foster care, and when it was time for her to find a forever home, I couldn’t let her go. I think you call it a foster fail? :-)
Yukimarimo – Angel’s foster fail
Is there a cat that you photographed that especially touched your heart?
There are definitely a few cats that have touched my heart in the time I have worked at the shelter. Most of these were my little projects helping them socialize, so it is not necessarily related to taking photos. Yukimarimo obviously touched my heart in a way that made me decide to overcome certain personal issues in order to adopt her. I do love all the cats at the shelter and I hope it shows in the pictures.
Anything else we should know about you? A fun fact?
Recently I joined Instagram to get some feedback on my photos and find inspiration in other people’s photos. I would just like to say how happy I am that the cat community on IG is such a positive one, especially since social media can be brutal sometimes. Cat photos break all language barriers. It doesn’t matter if we can’t read the captions that are in languages foreign to us. We all understand the language the photo speaks. I think that is something truly amazing. And I’m thankful for the interesting people I meet through IG, like Rachel and her beautiful blog. (Awww, thank you, Angel!)
A big thank you to Angel for volunteering at her local shelter and sharing her gorgeous photos with us! The cat community, like Angel said, is such a great one and I love meeting and hearing stories from all around the world. You can connect with Angel on Instagram (@yukimarimo_pics) and see more of her beautiful pictures!