Being the Paparazzi at Animal Friends

By Jeff Geissler, Communications Assistant 

Ozzy Osborne, Lauren Bacall, Loretta Swit, and being “The Paparazzi.” What do they have to do with Animal Friends’ blog today? This might be a stretch, but stick with me.

I changed my career path when I started my job as Communications Assistant here at Animal Friends last spring. For about 17 years before that, I worked as a newspaper photographer in many awesome spots around the country.

During those treasured years I had the incredible opportunity to meet and photograph many celebrities. Some I met one-on-one for a portrait session. Others may have just been at an event I was covering.

Today, I have the outstanding privilege of being the cat photographer for our fabulous felines. And, I can honestly say–from  experience—that our resident cats act like celebrities.

Ozzy Osborne was a true gentleman, and very gracious and friendly. And when I lifted my camera to start taking shots, his wild-side came out…with all kinds of twist, contortions, and tongue-related expressions – mixed in with a few R-rated words.

Now let’s take my good buddy Ladybug. I couldn’t keep this homeless cat off the camera lens, all rub-a-dubby and cheeky on the glass. And she has this deep, captivating, growling meow that would make any heavy metal singer jealous.


Lauren Bacall hails from the golden age of cinema. When I met her, she was proper, refined, gorgeous and confident. I don’t think her straight back or shoulders slumped a millimeter during our photo shoot. And her eyes, WOW!
Now I get to photograph Wirlybird, a lady who jumps to her paws when a gentleman, or gentlelady, enters the room. She has striking green eyes, silvery fur and perfect posture. She’s dashing and poised without being smug.

Now things get a little touchy. I met Loretta Swit from the classic TV show MASH. She has done wonders for animals. But when I met her for a photo shoot, well, she was a bit controlling. If I came in to close, she threw up her hands and demanded I step back. No hard feelings—she’s just particular and doesn’t like the close-up.

A few of our residents have this particular aversion to the close-ups (I’m looking at you Topeka and Ithaca). They’ll let me take the photo, but from a safe, but not as flattering, distance. I guess they don’t realize just how beautiful they are.



The paparazzi comparison and my final thoughts? Those are for the next blog. I want you to comment on what I’ve said so far. Am I using the camera as a way of exhibiting Anthropomorphism? (Confession: I just looked that word up on Wikipedia)  Or does Animal Friends just have amazing cats?

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