Cats and the Internet go together like… well, LOLcats and cheezburgers. We of the online era love pictures of our feline friends (often accompanied by a charmingly misspelled caption). But is it really possible that someone has finally found the “Cutest Kitten in the World”?
Apparently so, and that man is Ben Torode. Based in Japan, Torode—though not a photographer by trade—has certainly created some stunning, beautifully lit (and did we mention adorable?) results.
The blue-eyed furball that stars in those photos is a Persian kitten named Daisy. In an interview, Torode explained how he helped Daisy to get into so many cute poses:
More than anything I have learned that it’s nearly impossible to make a kitten do something and have it understand what it’s doing in the process, so you cannot present human motivations and expect the cat to act accordingly. In other words, you need to play to the kitten’s own instincts to provide the motivation for it to go somewhere or act in a certain way that feels natural to the cat. As soon as a cat decides it doesn’t like something, you are going to lose the shot. . . . So you need to be ready for the cat to show curiosity and pause that very first time but not thereafter. They won’t repeat tricks on demand.
For the above photos, Torode primarily shot with a Sony A900 camera and 135mm f/1.8 lens. He also offered some tips on how capture those split-second “awww” moments before they’re gone:
The second technique I’ve developed is what I call a pre-focused “killing zone.” I like to use very large aperture lenses like the 135 f/1.8 or 85 f/1.4. These produce great images when the focus is spot on but there is only a narrow zone in which the kitten’s eyes are in focus. So I manual focus a specific zone, use a remote control shutter release in one hand and play with the cat until they enter the “zone.” So in many shots I’m not behind the lens but actually interacting with the cat, which is how I can get them into cute poses by myself.