kamoorephotography Louie cat photo

End-of-life Photos of a Special Cat | Seattle Cat Photography

I took some photos of my mum’s cat Louie on my recent trip back home to England; a beautiful white cat – even with him being ear-less, he still was handsome (lost his ears to skin cancer some years ago). Yet I knew these would be the last photos I would take of him. After twenty years, his body was ready to shut down, and I could see that in his every move and his tired but still-magical eyes. I would watch him slowly make his way up and down the stairs, with much effort thanks to arthritis. He couldn’t see properly anymore; high blood pressure had made his retinas detach and caused blindness. And he couldn’t hear anymore either. Sometimes he would sit basking in the sun, looking happy as most cats do when doing just that, but he usually seemed restless, not knowing how to be comfortable.

A loved companion animal has a gift in terms of a loving human caretaker knowing when it is time to end the suffering by choosing euthanasia. Most animals know death and illness far more cruel, or have never even felt loved before. But it’s the hardest decision to make, even when you know it’s what is best; to end the suffering and give that animal peace, after giving so much of themselves to you. Twenty years is a long time, so much can happen in two decades. There’s so much love and attachment that happens in that time; they become part (and so often, become the spirit) of your home. It’s very hard to let go…

I’m glad I was able to get some end-of-life photos of Louie, particularly to give my mum and stepdad. Photos don’t replace memories, but they are a way for us to freeze time and hold those special moments close. So as much as I love taking photos of all sorts of things that embody life – new babies, children, parties, of animals looking for a new life (and family) of their own – I actually hope I can capture more special and precious memories like these, of companion animals before they pass on.

You fought hard to stay alive, my friend.
In the end, though, you couldn’t conquer death.
But neither did death conquer you.
Death cures all diseases, mends all broken bones,
Breaks all chains.
And made you free at last.” ~ Anon

Rest in Peace, little Louie. xo ~ K

Louie, May 2013 Copyright K.A.Moore Photography. All Rights Reserved

Louie, May 2013
Copyright K.A.Moore Photography. All Rights Reserved

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Photo Session Blog: Growth

I have finally wrapped up my biggest session yet that involved both the growth of a lovely family, as well as growth in terms of myself as a photographer, and I’d love to share.

What started with a grandmother-to-be of a friend asking me to take some candid baby shower photos, this ‘session’ turned into a several months-long photography journey for me, following the family from the baby shower through to photos of twin boys at a few months old. Basically a total of five separate sessions, which covered the shower, a maternity session, a couple’s session and two separate baby sessions of twin boys. And among all that I also took photos of their 4 cats and their dog!! The journey allowed me to explore my strengths as a photographer and presented me with new challenges and types of photography that I had hoped to explore. I also discovered the areas where I need to learn more and improve. Ultimately I feel so grateful to have had this opportunity, and I feel so proud to now have all the prints and products to turn over to the new parents.

When a photographer is invited in to take photos during times like this, it’s not just an experience for the client or family, it is also a journey for the photog. I’ve seen (and personally experienced) the joy and hope that comes with expecting a baby; it was enlightening to see it all from the outside, as I documented it all. I still regret not having my own maternity photos done when I was expecting (or a proper newborn session), so this story unfolding gave me much to reflect on, and it became very important to me to make sure I treated it with the same care and hope as if it were my own photos being done. When I went through my own pregnancy and labor/delivery, I also didn’t have the fortune of having family here, so I was also in awe of this loving, supportive family being a part of it all (and thank goodness, since it’s twin boys!).

A few things that I think are worth sharing:

  • Having maternity photos done is an intimate experience, and one where you are asking the expectant mama to share herself with you and the camera, to capture a time in her life that may only happen one time. I found it to be more fulfilling than I expected, and I appreciated the openness of someone willing to let me in to experience that. It’s a time when you feel vulnerable but there is something so beautiful and amazing about it, it’s just hard for that beauty to not show through in the photos. Plus this was the part where all the animals ended up being models too!! Their intuition about the changes to come was pretty obvious!
  • Taking photos of a loving happy couple about to have a baby (wait, two!!) brings an infectious enthusiasm for life and was a reminder to me of how precious that time is for a couple together before babies take over! The love they have for each other just shone through. Being that I have sadly few couple’s photos of my own (pre-baby and otherwise), I can’t think of a better time to capture that connection and excitement and love on camera.
  • Taking photos of twins babies is quite the bigger challenge than taking them of one, but can be twice as cute. Quite predictably, when one baby was asleep, the other was wide awake, crying or feeding (and then repeat with other baby!). This also was partly why I scheduled two sessions to do baby photos (with one being about a month later) so as to get enough of each twin being a happy, quiet, sleeping baby as opposed to being crying and fussy. As you know, we do like to pretend that they are always quiet little angels and preserve our memories of them like that! The twins are fraternal, so this also means they look different and are quite feasibly running on separate clock, and they also conspired to have ‘baby acne’ at different times to make my editing work ‘interesting’. It made for long sessions and required a lot of patience, but hearing mama ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over the proofs has already made it worth it. Just wait until she sees her finished prints, wraps and large collage standouts for their walls! Patches (the dog) made sure he continued to be in the baby photos…as if they could possibly show him up, eh?! Piha Babies 69
  • Extra notes: thank goodness the internet makes global communication easy these days. We were able to stay in constant contact about editing and ordering choices while I was overseas in England. Although the process may have gone quicker without a vacation, illness, indecision over which images are favorites, being busy with the twins now that they were born (that’s a lot of work!), but since hundreds of photos were taken over all these sessions, I think extra time made the anticipation greater, my work more thorough, and I think I feel more accomplished with the results.

So tomorrow I get to hand deliver prints, a gallery wrap, a flash drive of images, a couple of 10×20 triptych standouts, two 16×20 collage standouts, plus a few surprises, all in some fun hot pink wrapping and I am just so excited. I have learned so much from this, both personally and professionally (and photographically), and I am grateful. Many many thanks to the Piha/Amato family! I can’t wait to hopefully take more images of the beautiful family again.

xo ~ K

“Growth is the only evidence of life.” ~ John Henry Newman

Maid in England | Reflections

I’ve been back in my home country of England for ten days now, and we have hit our half way mark already. We make it over from Seattle only about once every two years and then 2-3 weeks go by in a flash. Half way means that my man has just gone back to Seattle (so he can get back to work), and it means that the rest of my time will evaporate way too fast…
I’ve been living in the States for just about 19 years now, from exchange student, to college student, to movie-maker, and now mama and photog. That’s a long time, a long history. But I’m always homesick for England, as much as I love my adopted city of Seattle. So when I come back here, I start wondering what my life would’ve been like had I stayed, how it could be if we moved back, and I appreciate the little things so much more.
I love how so much stays the same, how the countryside is still pristine, how London still speeds ahead in the midst of all that culture and with its historical landmarks all intact, how I can feel at home as soon as I land.
They say you don’t appreciate something (somewhere?) until it’s gone; I suppose my absence from the UK has made my love for it grow. I can hear now the echoes of those who say ‘well, why don’t you just move back then?’. That’s a big move and it’s not easy. There’s a lot to consider when you make a huge move, and this time I have a family to consider, animals who would have to sit in quarantine, belongings to ship, new immigration dealios to contend with…the list is long.
I don’t travel much anymore, alas, and while these may be akin to someone’s vacation/holiday photos, they hold more sentimentality for me. They aren’t just travel photos or a documentation of ‘been there, done that’; they are pieces of me, things that I hold in my heart.
When you adopt a new country as your home, you still hold pieces of other places you have lived close to you. Born in England, but raised chiefly in Hong Kong, those countries are a part of me. And I’ve been in the Pacific Northwest for close to 20 years now, longer than anywhere, so then I wonder how I might feel should we move back across the pond at some point.
This is the first trip back here to the UK where I have been struggling with emotions that are saying I wish I could stay, if only it weren’t for some friends back in the States, my beloved animals and a slice of the amazing Seattle. I see the excitement in my 5 year old of being surrounded by family here (family on both sides are in the South East of the States and in England, so all of them are far).
I had far less fear when I made the move over here when I was 20…I have different fears for myself and my child today. I’m impressed by those who can take the leap of a big move; my parents did that with us when we moved from England to Hong Kong, when I was just 4, and my brother was 2. My life would be very different today if my parents hadn’t been so bold, and I feel so fortunate that they did what they did.
Great changes happen when you make bold decisions and take risks (calculated or otherwise!).
What I must do at the least when I return to Seattle, is have us at least move house, amongst other things. Being away gives me perspective on the things that are to be put on my
‘action’ list, so while a big move back here may not happen just yet, I do now at least have renewed energy for quite a few things…and I plan to go home with a fair amount of English chocolate and sweeties to tide me over…until next time.
Some iPhone moments from me to you…
Cheers from England! Xo ~ K

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Photo Session Blog: Spidey in Seattle

I thought I’d post a wee kiddie session that was fun and colorful that I did just recently…

To raise some funds for my Walk MS efforts (the walk is in a week!!), I have been offering mini sessions. I think this was our first truly warm and sunny Spring Day here in Seattle; if you’re from here, you know that means while we have clear skies and sun, it could well be  just in the 60’s, and suddenly everyone and their grandmother is out in shorts and T-shirts, and busting out the SPF.

For some 4 year-old’s pics, we went over to Queen Anne to Bhy Kracke Park (yes, really), where there’s a small playground with a path that leads up to another area where you have insane views of Seattle – from Lake Union to downtown to the Space Needle and West of that. That’s quite the panorama. Our Spiderman did some wall-balancing with the skyline behind him, and then we went to Wallingford for some wicked bunny mural shots (appropriately it was Easter Sunday) by Archie McPhee. It’s just about the coolest store ever, where you can find everything from unicorn masks to yodeling pickles and toupee tattoos. Sadly the holiday meant it was closed but I at least didn’t have to drag my son in there (he’s always worried that the freaky Halloween decorations will still be everywhere) or have to drag him out (because there are way too many sweets and plastic toys to tempt him with).

I’m still fundraising for the walk, so if you do want to stop by my fundraising page and sponsor my TENTH year of doing it, please do!! Raising money for the National MS Society is a super important cause for me, and every dollar helps; my story and why I keep on doing the walk is all on my page. I truly appreciate the support.

Must go and edit baby photos; hoping to do cat photos next week! Busy and tired but must keep on…

xo ~ K

“A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s just that it can’t buzz any slower.” ~ Kin Hubbard

Seattle 'Queen Anne" photo

Rest in peace, TyraBear | Seattle Cat Photography

Being around animals at a no-kill animal rescue can be just as hard as one that euthanizes them. Some animals may find themselves at the rescue for weeks, even months to years. They are re-socialized, some after terrible histories of neglect and abuse, and treated for illness, given dental work, fostered in people’s homes, and treated with the care that many animals never ever have the chance for. The struggles of many of these animals touch every volunteer that works with them, feeds them and loves them, and they make it so that when one passes on, the loss is almost as if they were our own companion animal.

One such sweet kitty at Animal Talk was TyraBear,

TyraBear, when I met her at the rescue, Fall 2011

TyraBear, when I met her at the rescue, Fall 2011

who struggled for a long time to gain her health and gain a home, but she was never given up on. I’m posting the email sent to me, written by my friend and the rescue’s Head of the Board, Rebecca, to share Tyra’s story. RIP little TyraBear. I hope you rest well now.

“TyraBear touched my heart and the heart of everyone who got the chance to know her.  At the rescue this was very difficult.  Her shy nature and anxiety in stressful situations did not allow her to stand out and get noticed by many of the volunteers and potential adopters. But she had a lovely and gentle spirit.  Carol Cummings (foster kitty mom) described her perfectly by saying that few kitties have touched her like Tyra. This was also true for Paul and I.  Rollo (her ‘brother’ and friend) also adored her the eleven years they were together. Tyra remained loving and calm up until the end.

Tyra’s struggle to maintain stability and quality health has been challenging over the past year.  She came into foster care one year ago weighing only 4.5 pounds (down from 11 pounds) and sick with depression and chronic upper respiratory symptoms.  Rollo also was thin and ill, but recovered VERY well with supportive therapy and food trials. We were not able to discover what ailed Tyra and caused her lack of appetite which was her main problem.  The only issue we knew of was dental related but our vet did not feel her dental issues were the source of her decline and lack of appetite so did not wish to do dental extractions. Thus, in addition to much monitoring, testing, supportive therapy (steroids, antibiotics, appetite stimulants, fluids…), and TLC, little more could be done.  We were hopeful she would improve for good and become adoptable.  She had many good months, but she continually improved only to crash again and repeat, repeat, repeat. It was difficult to watch her suffer on the declines but a joy to watch her flourish too. I loved her like my own and was very devoted.  Carol and Lance were also devoted foster parents for Tyra during the last couple months.  Lance played her live music and Carol brushed her every day which she loved.

Two months ago her decline saw less up’s and she became very thin.  Every medical treatment and medication administration was traumatic for Tyra and she became very fearful and mistrusting with treatment so we gave limited care.  It was emotionally difficult for Dr Obegi, Carol, and I to help her in this way without improvement that lasted. We realized there was little more we could do for her, but felt grateful that we were able to extend her life for a year. She had many happy and cozy moments in foster and deserved every second of it.

I scheduled her euthanasia with sadness last week and the nagging curiosity: could we do more for this sweet girl who sickened so severely in our rescue’s care?  Strangely enough, the day that I scheduled her euthanasia she perked up as she had not done in months!  She ran to me and purred, rolled and rubbed, and acted energetic (for tyra) and comfortable.  We were shocked and decided to delay her appointment.  Lance stated the obvious, the source of our hesitation, by saying that she was a cat who was not thriving but also not dying. She spent the next 5 days at my house acting happy and comfortable. She loved to be pet and brushed.  She purred and licked and adored stretching out on her fav blanket on top of a warm heating pad.  She seemed to be at ease and I feel had a happy and relaxed time during her final rally for life.  However, she still ate very little and remained thin.  Dr O and I did not want her to suffer any longer with supportive care to help her gain weight without knowing the cause and thus no ability to treat it for good.

Yesterday I brought her in to be put to sleep.  I hope Tyra joined a new place and will find a new beginning with joy, comfort, and love.  She was a special girl with a gentle soul.  She will be missed.”

I've posted this before, but I love this photo of Tyra: taken at her foster home a couple of months ago

I’ve posted this before, but I love this photo of Tyra: I took this at her foster home a couple of months ago