Beyond the Lagoon

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Photographer Sabrina Boem lives in a small town near Venice, Italy. She had never had cats before and never really knew that much about them. But when she adopted felines Sissi, 9, and Ricky, 8, they introduced her to the world of cats. She combined that with her passion for photography.

Her cat photography started with Sissi and Ricky. “I spent a lot of time alone with them, I observed them without interfering, waiting until an interesting moment came up, always driven by a deep curiosity to understand their true nature,” she says.

After a couple of years of photographing her cats and those of friends and family, she discovered stray and colony cats, particularly those belonging to a cat sanctuary in Forte Marghera Park in Venice’s lagoon, which includes two shelters, feeding stations and volunteers who care for the cats. From Day One, she fell in love with them.

It’s easy to feel sorry for our feral friends, but Sabrina doesn’t approach the cats with pity. “All the cats I’ve photographed so far are cared for by volunteers,” she says. “Even if they live in a colony after the experience of abandonment, they are loved and have a home.”

While photographing the cats, she also started documenting their lives with the passing of the seasons and the special relationship most solitary cats have with nature. Capturing many of these moments required great perseverance, commitment and logistics — like going on a photographic safari. There were long stakeouts in uncomfortable positions that put a strain on both her equipment and her motivation. But she was so proud to show cats in a new way, and she was aware that her work was unique, so she never gave up. “Photographing them has taught me to look at the world around me with new eyes and never to take anything for granted,” she says.

Sabrina has already been acknowledged with numerous achievements, including a selection of shots in National Geographic and several exhibitions. Her latest achievement: the book Oltre la Laguna (Beyond the Lagoon), which is the result of her experiences with these cats. “I felt that my journey with these #trending Fresh-From-The-Fridge Meals cats had already taught me so much, and I wanted to share my experience with other people, volunteers and photographers,” she says.

The book is available in both Italian and English versions. Follow Sabrina on Instagram @sabrina _boem_photography and on Facebook @Sabrina Boem The Catographer.

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