The first love of my life was waiting for me the day I was born. Her name was Angel and she was a mutt—some kind of a terrier-beagle mix perhaps? It didn’t really matter. All I knew was that she was soft and furry, and she immediately became my best friend. I was an only child and she was my constant companion and even willingly served as my fuzzy pillow every night. I shared every secret with her, snuggled up next to her when I was scared or lonely, and threw countless balls for her to chase. She was pure joy and I was hooked. Angel crossed the Rainbow Bridge when I was 12 and since then there have been many dog and cat companions who have filled my heart with love. Each one has been a beloved member of my family and I would do anything for them. Although my heart is shattered on occasion as their lives are always too short, I cannot ever imagine my life without at least a couple of fur babies in it.
My husband and I currently share our home with five crazy felines—Tommy B, Chip, Shadow, Lynus, and Scout—all rescue cats from Butte Humane Society. We adopted our first cat from BHS in 2004 and on May 30, 2009 I logged my first hour as a BHS volunteer.
Little did I know how much joy I would get out of my volunteer service. I cleaned cat cages, walked dogs, helped with adoptions and in 2010 when they put out a call for a cat photographer I jumped at the chance! The challenge, however, was that I hadn’t picked up a camera pretty much since college and all I had was a point and shoot. If you know anything about how quickly cats can move, and how slow the shutter is on a point and shoot camera, you’ll realize how much trouble I was in. I quickly decided to invest in a DLSR, take some online classes, and practice, practice, practice. In 2013 the Shelter Art Foundation crew came in and provided some lighting equipment and taught myself and our dog photographer how to set up a small studio and use the equipment. Again—hooked! Using studio lights was a game-changer in terms of the quality of my photographs. More practice, practice, practice.
Fast forward a few years and I now have my own studio and personal photography business and I photographed 700 shelter cats in 2017. I am also an artist member of HeARTs Speak, a non-profit organization whose mission is to create a world where no shelter animal goes unseen. Through that organization I was able to photograph a number of Shar Pei’s at a rescue in northern California.
A photograph of a shelter animal is a first impression that may save their life or help them find a home. For you and your beloved pet it is a precious moment in time and a permanent remembrance of that special bond you have. Through my photography, I would be honored to work with you and your family to celebrate that love and creating lasting art that you will have for many years to come.
--Sue Anderson, Black Cat Photography, LLC
"In ancient times, cats were worshipped as gods. They have not forgotten this."