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It had always been the plan to become a portrait photographer.

My decades in **Hollywood** as a writer -- an economic rollercoaster ride if there ever was one -- were an adventure filled with constant surprise and many of the most astonishing faces I have ever beheld.

I had the good fortune to meet several successful photographers in the film industry; they were all possessed of enormous technical finesse but few of their portraits felt intimate or sparked emotional response. This realization startled me at first; there was something homoginized and safe in their creations. It seemed intentional. It was not always thus. I grew to believe something sanitized and cautious was permeating the increasingly corporate management of the production of feature films. I had arrived in the film world earlier in a time of upheaval, creativity, innovation and generational change.

I felt old recalling my formative inspiration for portraiture, George Hurrell, who famously popularized the term Glamour Photography, sensuously capturing the leading women and men of the Golden Era. His photos were always sophisticated yet charged, sizzling with emotion, intimate, vital.

When it came time to school myself in portraiture, the film world was a memory left long behind and I found myself unable to afford a model.

I drafted my cat instead.

Why not photograph my cat the way Hurrell photographed people?

My cat's portrait now hangs in a Santa Fe gallery and measures 63 x 42 inches. Of course it changed her. She now talks about securing an agent and never removes her fur coat, even indoors.

Additionally, life in the Ortiz Mountains around the ravens inspired her to take up flying.

And friends started to ask me to photograph their cats.

Catty Wompuss, my companion, had started something.

Why not photograph wild animals the way old portrait shooters had photographed people? Not Wildlife Photography, but Wildlife Art?

Smart cat.

So I determined to create a portrait gallery of ravens, which led to coyotes, which in turn is leading to, well, photographing people the way I photograph animals.

But that is another story.

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