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Jane Bown is a legendary Observer photographer best-known for her portraits of icons from Beckett to Bjork. This is a collection of 100 black and white pictures of felines which reveals the same sympathetic eye and wit as her portraits. It features the cats sprawling, prowling, lolling, playing, feeding and lounging.
Jane Bown began working at the Observer in 1949. Bown's great mantra was, 'photographers should neither be seen nor heard'. An ideal shoot was one where she exposed no more than a roll and a half of film, often in just 15 minutes. Once she cornered the notoriously camera-phobic Samuel Beckett in a dark alleyway down the side of the Royal Court theatre in London as he tried to escape her lens. With simmering hostility, he stood long enough for Jane to expose five frames - the middle one is one of her most recognisable portraits and the best portrait of the playwright. She was made an MBE in 1985, a CBE in 1995. She died in December 2014. Robin Christian, the editor, is a curator, exhibition programmer and archivist currently working at the Guardian News & Media Archive and the Photography and the Archive Research Centre, a Research Centre of the University of the Arts London. He catalogued Bown's extensive archive collection and was a researcher on previous books, A Lifetime of Looking and Unknown Bown.