A couple weeks ago, while working at the Stewart, Tabori & Chang offices (Did you know that if you’re late with a book project, your editor might actually make you work in the office? It’s like study hall. Or detention. For me, it was detention.), I passed these books in a glass display case. If you’re a book lover, the fun part of working in a publishing office for a day is seeing all the books. When I pulled this book out of the glass case, I knew I had found a winner. These photos make me incredibly happy. Author Rachael Hale McKenna is a successful animal photographer. Her big break came when, at age 23, she won a local photography competition with a pig wearing a watch. Back then, much of her animal photography took place in indoor studios, but Rachael longed to take photos of animals in their natural habitat or, as she writes, “just doing their thing.” Then, she quite suddenly met the love of her life, and within a year of meeting, the two were married and expecting a baby. Two months after getting married, the couple moved from New Zealand to the south of France. The couple’s daughter was born in December, and the three of them began work on The French Cat while exploring their new home. (There’s a great video here of Rachael with the baby crawling around as she works.) Rachael didn’t use a zoom lens or Photoshop, so she had to befriend the cat for each photo. — Amy Azzarito
See more of the French Cat (and the French Dog!) after the jump!
Image above: I love the photos of Rachael’s journal, which documents where she met the animal and the story behind the photograph.
After The French Cat, Rachael tackled The French Dog. While the cats were usually out and about on their own, the French dog is incredibly social and typically hangs out with his master, so Rachael had to request permission with her imperfect French. (What a great way to make new friends!) Luckily, most owners were overjoyed to have their canine friends photographed. While flipping through these books, I couldn’t help but think that they would make great Mother’s Day gifts for dog- or cat-loving moms. (Or for yourself!)