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The Cat on the Lap

October 17, 2014 2 min read

About 12 years ago, photographer Brad Stanton was hired by a bank to take photos for an ad for phone banking, a technology still pretty new at the time. The art director of the shoot had very particular ideas about the setup: a man had to be seated on a specific chair, with a cat in his lap, and holding a phone in one of his hands. The specific chair was a floor model in a furniture store in Bethel, Connecticut where the shoot took place, and the only one available. Brad knew a male model who happened to be a cat owner, so he hired him, including his cat. For the shoot, Brad was using a 4×5 large format film camera, one of those where the photographer hides behind a blanket, and two strobes. When they were ready to shoot, the model brought in the cat that had been waiting in the car. They quickly realized that only the cat owner was a professional, but not the cat. When he finally got the cat to sit in his lap, Brad triggered the camera, and the flashes went off, sending the cat darting over the surrounding furniture. He went after the beast, preventing it from scratching sofas and chairs. He was eventually able to catch it. This work out went on several times, resulting in a few usable pictures. Unfortunately, there are no photos of that shoot available, but I’m sure you can picture this: in one of the photos, the cat was sitting in the center of the male model’s lap, with its tail erect.

It changed phone and online banking forever.

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