It’s not often you have the pleasure of settling down with a book and taking the time to properly read the introduction, but in this case I did, and was struck by what the publication’s curator Olivia Triggs and editor Antony Leyton had to say on Cat’s project. “Do not open this book expecting to find sample art, finished pieces, or examples of what each contributor is ‘most famous for.’ There are other books for that. Cat’s book is about the life, not the work.”
It’s a heavy, hardback tome, filled simply with photographs of creatives going about their day. This is by no means uncovered territory – imagine how many times we have been invited by a photographer to peruse the inner walls of a personal creative space. In this case though, it is different, as Cat’s book is perhaps one of the most polite, telling portrayals of the lives of household names you will come across. Maybe it’s because Cat spent an entire day shadowing each of her subjects, maybe it’s because she’s got that sort of personality that allows you to speak freely and let her in, or maybe it’s because she’s just very, very good at what she does.
What makes this book truly sing is how it gives off this beguiling atmosphere, like having a scented candle in the room. Each scenario we are invited into, no matter how evidently stressed each subject must be, seems as tranquil as a temple through Cat’s lens, and each subject is caught in the kind of mood that happens or mid-coffee, or post-laugh. From Peter Blake to Fred Butler, Giles Deacon to Bella Freud, Erik Kessels to Jaime Perlman – no one is captured in less than a truly distinguished and utterly captivating light. Each set of photos is accompanied by a small piece of text by a friend of the subject, more often than not another creative, giving the book a strong backbone of love and support you just don’t get in any other publication.
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