Hay Cat - Doug Johnson

"Where's the [bleeping] cat?" So began Jay Maisel's "tough love" photography class when he first saw this image.


Window in Bar Harbor, ME


After pausing briefly to let his attention-grabbing question sink in, Jay went on to clarify that his critique had nothing to do with missing cats -- [bleeping] or otherwise. ;-) Rather, images like this, while pleasant enough, are unexciting because they lack visual focus and a narrative. There is neither a star nor a story; the viewer's eye wanders around the image, noting interesting bits and pieces but never finding the "point" of the photograph. The goal of Jay's colorful question was to remind us to look harder and to create images with life, energy and purpose.

A year later, I was photographing at a horse ranch when, coming upon a stack of hay bales, two things happened simultaneously -- the geometric shapes and colors of the bales and shadows caught my eye AND Jay's voice popped into my head asking "where's the [bleeping] cat?" Ten seconds later, I literally laughed out loud when a cat magically appeared out of nowhere and proceeded to explore every nook and cranny in the stack. Out of the 100-or-so photos I took, this one of the cat bale-leaping its way back down to the ground is this week's POTW. I think Jay would approve!


Hay Cat

Hay Cat
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