Part of being a photographer, whether it’s a real estate photographer, a landscape photographer, portrait photographer, event photographer or … pet photographer – whatever the subject, part of being a photographer is looking at the work of others,typically on the web, and learning from their stories,  motivations, and approach..

My ventures into other people’s photography can be simple appreciation,  as when I see a selection of beautiful bokeh-filled wedding images. Sometimes it’s for inspiration and sometimes it is  just for fun.

When it comes to that last excuse to scroll, the Internet offers seemingly endless possibilities.

After all, there are more cat pics and videos online than just about anything else. O.k…. so that’s probably an exaggeration, but according to that pillar of modern knowledge, Wikipedia, “Images and videos of domestic cats make up some of the most viewed content on the World Wide Web,” adding, “ThoughtCatalog has described cats as the “unofficial mascot of the Internet”.

While I’ve always enjoyed the content, I’ve sometimes been late to the table – I’m pretty sure someone had to explain ‘Grumpy Cat’ to me (as my wife reminds me – it was her) as I’d never heard of him.

(Running with) The Mob, by Walter Chandoha

One shot making the rounds lately is a black and white image of a group of cats photographed by Walter Chandoha, who made a career of capturing cats with cameras.

Renee, my beautiful wife (and editor) brought it to my attention.

In the Metaverse, the shot was identified as “The Mob.” But I found other reference to suggest the correct name is “Running with the Mob.”

I was curious about this image, and searched out a bit about the artist.

Chandoha, it turns out, had been photographing cats since long before Al Gore invented the Internet…

Chandoha reportedly got his start with an early folding Kodak and joined a camera club where he learned to process his film and develop pictures. That’s a subject for another day, but in age before ‘digital,’ there were these things called ‘darkrooms…’

Shortly after high school he landed a job as an assistant to a photo illustrator, subsequently served as a combat photographer in World War II and eventually settled in Astoria, in Queens, NY. Walking home one night in the snow he spotted a shivering kitten in an alley, which he brought home. His wife, Maria, declared the cat ‘loco,’ after a display of what cat people sometimes call the zoomies.

Loco inspired a shift in Chandoha’s photographic focus and cats became his primary subject – much of his work for advertising.

The Mob, it turns out, is one of his ‘most celebrated’ images, according to the write-up promoting a 2018-2019 exhibit of Chandoha’s work at the Hunterdon Art Museum, from which this biographical material was harvested.

The artist died just days after the show ended. His obituary in The New York Times speaks to his groundbreaking career.

In the “The Cat Who” books, which constitute a shelf full of light fiction about a wealthyjournalist and his crime-solving Siamese cat Koko (short for Kao K’o-Kung), Quilleran regularly notes the cat will offer and groom his backside whenever a camera is present.

While I confess too many of the images in my cell phone are in fact of our cats, I’ve found ours to be (mostly) a little more cooperative. In fact, they’re very photogenic. (Would you expect me to say anything else?)

Want more on the subject of cats on the Internet?

Here’s an updated article (with science!) originally from 2011 titled “Why the Internet Chose Cats.” It’s from the aforementioned Thought Catalog. Sorry for the obtrusive advertising.

Thanks as always for reading!

Jonathan Ment

You can find, follow and like Jonathan Ment Photography on Facebook and at

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