The real story behind Tim Walker's iconic Pastel Cats portrait

Photographer Tim Walker tells all about his most-beloved portrait
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The real story behind Tim Walker's iconic Pastel Cats portrait

Pastel Cats (1998)

In his career, Tim Walker has shot the likes of Tilda Swinton, Vivienne Westwood and Keira Knightley, but the shoot he's asked about time and time again is the 1998 portrait entitled Pastel Cats. "For some reason, people are just fascinated with it - more than any model, house or celebrity I've ever shot. Everyone wants to know about the pastel cats," the British Fashion photographer told The Guardian.

The legendary portrait and fashion photographer - whose exhibition Tim Walker: Wonderful Things is at the V&A in London until 8 March 2020 - reveals there was no camera trickery involved in the making of this shot and instead the colours were achieved by mixing talc with with pigment powder and brushing it onto the Persian cats. 

And you'll be pleased to know that no animals were harmed in the making of this portrait. "By a fluke, all the cats seemed to gravitate to this clematis at the bottom of some steps. I didn't arrange them," Tim recalls. "The cats were such vain creatures, they adored being touched and pampered."

Photo: Tim Walker Studio