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Paper Monitor

12:54 UK time, Thursday, 5 May 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

How to scare the living daylights out of visitors and "deter cats and pests" - place a Hooting Owl on your path. Not news, but a reader offer in a newspaper - the Daily Express to be exact.

Not only does this "beautifully designed" and "amazingly detailed, right down to the delicate feathers" polyresin owl hoot when anyone, or anything, passes its PIR sensor, but its eyes light up.

Its eyes light up.

Paper Monitor, who still remembers accidently watching a TV movie called I Heard the Owl Call My Name at an impressionable age, shudders at the mere thought.
[Sound of pages rustling, in search of something more cheery]
A-ha! Other than that scary owl, the Express should today be renamed the Daily Expuss, for its pages are laden with cat-related items. (After yesterday's wordplay on rabbits, punnery has gone to Paper Monitor's head. Feel free, again, to offer your own via the Send us a Letter form on the right of this page.)

There's a black cat illustrating its story about how superstitious we still are.

And on page 29 is the headline "Cat with a camera gets her snaps into a top exhibition", with a photo of tabby cat Nancy Bean wearing her collarcam, and a reproduction of one of her images. Spot quiz: what's the subject matter?

  1. bowl of cream
  2. rival cat and street scene
  3. the Queen

It's of a rival cat and street scene. Like the work of a Turner Prize nominated artist, at first glance the image seems somewhat amateurish. Some areas are overexposed. Nancy's thumb - or perhaps her furry chin - intrudes into the frame. But she has captured a greater truth in this meditation on the menace that lurks in sunny suburbia. Or something.

So how does a cat - and one with only three legs after an accident - take photos of a standard to be included in the International Festival of Photo­graphy in Arles, France?

The Expuss explains:

"[She] captured 400 shots with a lightweight camera slung around her neck. The camera was timed to take an image every minute as Nancy prowled her favourite haunts around her home in Plymouth...
Nancy's leap to inter­national fame came after [owner] Christian [Allen] used the images in his course studying archi­tecture at the University of Plymouth. He was contacted by world renowned photographer Martin Parr, asking if he would be willing to put 18 of them on display."

Strangely, the Daily Mail has had its own snapper cat story this week - Cooper, a Seattle-based tabby, who also has his own photography exhibition.

Cooper's owners put a collarcam on the ginger tabby to find out what their cat did all day. The answer does not surprise Paper Monitor (also a cat owner - a Kitler, as regular readers of Web Monitor may remember).

"'We learned through his photos that Cooper spent a huge amount of time each day just waiting to be let inside,' Mr Cross explained."

His photos may sell for $200 each, but Cooper wasn't talented spotted by Martin Parr.


American photographer cat.

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