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5.0 out of 5 stars The Cat's meow, 15 July 2004
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Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Asleep in the Sun (Hardcover)
Hans Silvester is a master photographer, and here he has chosen one of his favourite subjects, cats. On many Greek Islands, cats roam free among the people, living their lives on beaches, in the public spaces, and in every nook and cranny around. These photographs, astonishing in colour and clarity, are fabulous images of familiar and emotive subjects.
Who doesn't like to nap? Certainly, cats are renowned for this - the phrase 'cat-nap' is a standard English phrase for good reason. Cats also are creatures of comfort and joy -- they have a good talent for seeking out even the smallest sliver of sunlight to bask and enjoy. Single, double and in 'clumps', cats are portrayed in various settings here -- cliffs, beaches, stores, stairs, empty boxes, waterside -- every conceivable pose.
These are natural shots. Silvester does not work with trained cats, and as most people know, cats are notoriously hard to 'herd'. Silvester went everywhere with his cameras, every day, and found cats doing what they do naturally, which is most often, napping. The settings on the Cyclades Islands in Greece provide a stunning backdrop. The buildings are better than any Hollywood set could ever be; from the dramatic colours of the Mediterranean to the simple white-washed stone buildings, the colours of the cats, their fur and their eyes, provide dramatic visuals, touching images, and wonderful feelings.
Silvester is good at playing contrasts and well as blended images. The opening pages show a solid white cat at play and rest against a white-and-blue washed building in the shade -- the camoflague of the cat is subtle and effective. The calico and orange tabbies against the sandstone is also an effective blend. On the other hand, the tortoise shell cats against the green steps and the mother gray-striper with her collection of nursing kittens against the soft-coloured, light gray stone provide good contrasts.
While the title of the book, 'Asleep in the Sun', implies something about cat behaviour and the selection of photographs by Silvester, in fact Silvester never passes up a chance at a good photograph, so we are also treated to cats at play, cats on the run, and cats in various poses such as grooming and stretching.
There are no humans depicted in the photographs -- this is a book about the cats and their environment, although the human presence is very much a factor in the architecture and general layout of the place.
Silvester includes a short essay at the beginning of the book, in which he praises the Mediterranean idea of siesta and relaxation that we in the north (and those descended from northern Europeans) tend to have forgotten. Cats are companions to humans with love to offer, and means of living to teach. This is a precious book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A master cat photographer. Buy it., 19 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Asleep in the Sun (Hardcover)
Love cats? Can't sleep? Look at a few pictures and you'll feel so relax that snoozing will not be an issue anymore. Best external onset insomnia cure. Hans Silvester is amazing at capturing cats, and it just shows on the pictures. They're great per se, but he's so good that you feel you're hanging out with the cats for a little snooze. His other books on cats are awesome too. I can't judge his other work as I haven't seen much of it, but cats, oh my, he's an absolute master.
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Asleep in the Sun
Asleep in the Sun by Hans Walter Silvester (Hardcover - Nov. 1997)
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