Chanan Photography is a husband and wife team who has created
a niche for specialized cat photography over the past 40 years.
Their work is world renown in the Cat fancy as "The Best".
Combining extreme patience with both the animals and the owners,
and with an extensive knowledge of cat behavior, breed and show
conformation. Their efforts to show every animal as a good
representation of its breed often earns the comment "he never
looked so good".
Richard and Nancy met while attending college at California
Polytechnic University in Pomona California. Richard was studying
biology, and Nancy social science. They met at the Arabian Horse
Unit on campus where Richard was working part time on the feed
crew, and Nancy was training a young filly. They double dated with
two other members of the feed crew, one of whom is still Nancy's
best friend. About two years later they married on June 10th 1972.
They share a common love of animals and of cats in particular.
Nancy was raised in a household that always had at least one cat,
and Richard had been around no less than five his whole life. When
Richard's mother began breeding show cats in 1963, Richard's
exposure to cats increased exponentially.
Richard got a part time job in college doing "kidnapping", (door to
door baby photography), working for a very sleazy operator in San
Bernardino California. One day Richard and Nancy went to visit
Richard's mother at a cat show nearby, and Richard took his
camera. His mother asked him to take some pictures of her cats, as
did a few other people at the show. With Nancy's help Richard
photographed perhaps six cats at that show. Reflecting back on his
teens when he had attended lots of shows with his mother, Richard
could only recall seeing three photographers at cat shows ever.
One had been doing Polaroid Buttons, one Key Chain Viewers,
and only once had he seen anyone doing portraiture.
From the demand at that show where all they had was a camera,
and a single flash, Richard thought that there might be a market in
doing photography of cats for breeders at the cat shows, so
Richard and Nancy decided to try another cat show with
backgrounds, and lights expressly to take cat photos. That first cat
show was in a National Guard Armory Hall where no 'for profit' vendors
were allowed. As they could not charge for the photos that they
were going to take, they took all the photos for free, and charged only 25
cents for postage to mail out the photos.
That first cat show in
November of 1976, was an American Cat Association
(ACA) show in Glendale California. Since that date, they have been the show
photographers at over 1100 cat shows throughout the United States,
Canada, Europe and Asia..
"Chanan" was coined by Richard's mother (Dorothy Katris -
Ricadoro Himalayans & Persians) one day when she commented
that "R.J. Katris Photography", the name under which they had
been doing their photography at the time gave no credit to Nancy
who did half of the work, by getting the animals in position to
photograph. She suggested "CHA" from RiCHArd, and "NAN"
from NANcy. Using an often used tradition in the cat fancy of
combining names to form Cattery names, CHANAN Photography
Over the next four years, their business doubled each year.
Borrowed equipment was replaced with new better equipment and
Nancy was eventually able to quit her job with the State of
California, and work full time with the business. In 1987 they
moved into a larger home with facilities for a studio and office
separate from their living quarters, and continued to expand their
business with a more compact studio that could allow flying by air
to the shows.
Richard typically flies to about 25 of the 40+ cat shows that he
attends each year. Currently they photograph at shows from
Kyoto to Amsterdam, from Edmonton to Washington DC, and
from Wailua to Boca Raton. They photograph about 2000 sittings
per year. Their portfolio today contains more than 1,000,000 photos of
cats. Since 1976 they have photographed about 85,000 different
cats. Richard and Nancy have been the official photographers at
Annual Banquets for The International Cat Association (TICA)
thirteen times, and at all the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) Annuals
since 1985, and have covered the UCF, and ACFA annuals twice
each. Richard has given lectures twice at Cat Symposia at UCLA
as an expert on the Photography of Cats.
While most of their work is from shows in the United States, they
have clients in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, and Australia as well.
They have supplied the photos being used in the traveling exhibit on Cats
(Cats -Wild to Mild) for the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural
History. MOMA has used their images on wrapping paper, and they had
supplied images for usage by Smithsonian Publishing.
Chanan Photography regularly contributes to books and magazines
throughout the world. They are currently contributors to a number of
magazines about cats, and they have worked on over 80 books and three
encyclopedias with publishers based in France, Italy, Japan, England,
Australia, Brazil, and the United States.
Books they have worked on have been published in as many as
seven different languages. Their work has been used by major pet food
and pet product manufacturers including Kal Kan, Carnation, Purina,
Eukanuba, St. Jon Labs, Cardinal Labs, Cats Pride, CFA Inc., Royal
Canin, NBC and the Iams Corporation.
On January 5th of 1992 after more than 19 years of marriage, and
seven intense years of trying to conceive, their daughter Julia Ariana
was born. Richard, Nancy, and Julia share their home on 3.3
acres, on a hill, 50 miles east of Los Angeles-California with their
current menagerie of pets which includes eighteen cats, and a Rabbit.
With 95% of their income derived entirely from the photography
of show cats at cat shows, or the sale of stock cat photos, they remain
uniquely dedicated to the show cat and the cat fancy. When not on the
road or at shows, (Richard spends over100 days a year traveling),
Richard and Nancy routinely put in 16 hour days in the office and on the
computer as they do all of their own print preparation work.
In 2002 Chanan Photography moved into digital capture as the way
they today make photos of cats. This has allowed them to deliver what
for many today is their primary objective....digital files for usage on
personal cattery web sites, and to do it much faster than was possible
when they were shooting film.
Chanan Photography P.O.Box 6 Mira Loma, CA. 91752-0006
Richard and Nancy and Julia Katris (951) 685-2739, phone,
skype—"chananone" answering machine--occasionally people.