This photo was taken by me back in 2003, aged 18. I know the year so vividly, because this is one of the photos I shot and developed all by myself. I was attending Art Foundation year at college back then, and had access to a dark room, as well as a manual SLR I bought with my first job (I was a cleaning lady when I was 16). This picture is of my favourite family pet, Soforth.
Soforth came to us as a kitten in 1991. I feel a special connection to him because out of the four cats whose company we have enjoyed, he is the only one I knew from kitten up to his death in 2004. Like lots of cats, he liked to drink from anything but his water bowl, and one of his late night pastimes included drinking from our ancient bath, catching the drips from the taps on his tongue.
I ought to explain his name – he had a brother called So On (har har har), and as a family we never got round to re-naming him. It stopped being a pun and just became the collection of sounds that made up his name. He was a real rogue, often getting into fights, destroying furniture and slaughtering defenceless animals, causing my parents no end of aggravation and me no end of happiness, as he was a really affectionate boy when he wanted to be.
What makes a good photo? Composition, lighting, careful consideration of the composition and subject… I realize this picture has a few faults from that point of view. I had to snap Soforth quickly, as when he was discovered in the bath he often leaped out guiltily so I didn’t have long to take the snap. It’s a shame his tail got cut out of the picture, but I quite like the view of the plug hole, and the focus on the taps. This bath was in the house when my parents moved in, and is probably close to 90 years old – they still have it, albeit re-enamelled and re-painted.
Our next cat, Amber, was placid and SO photogenic. A shot I took of her a couple of years back shows her facing the camera, prim and serious, like she was born to pose for photographs. By contrast this picture sums up Soforth so well to me – capture him quick, before he flees the scene! He’s somewhere he really ought not to be and he knows it. So, although no photographic masterpiece, it’s one of my favourite pictures, and I’ve had it on display everywhere I’ve ever lived.