Fast forward to 2019: blog founder and photographer BriAnne Wills is releasing a big, beautiful coffee table book version of her work. Published by Chronicle Books with velvet binding and full page photographs, the sweet book features 50 women telling the stories of how their kitties came to their lives—over half of which haven't appeared on the blog. The book also highlights some familiar local faces including photographer Holly Andres, macramé expert Emily Katz, and songwriter Alela Diane—all with their cats, of course.
Wills, a born and raised Oregonian, has managed to turn what was a simple networking idea into a full-fledged Internet craze. After moving to NYC with her husband for his work, she was looking to drum up photography work in the beauty and fashion world and started photographing women with their fur babies. It took off. Four years later, she’s photographed over 300 subjects, including 50 for the book alone. She’s also picked up some fans along the way including Linda Ramone, Johnny Ramone’s widow, and former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Obama, Alyssa Mastromonaco.
Along the way, Wills made some interesting observations about the differences between cats across the country.
“I had this strange observation that west coast cats are friendlier than east coast cats. I don't know, it might be the space and the sunshine they have,” she says. “But LA cats especially were very approachable and warm and friendly and willing to pose. And one in particular did not mind wearing cat clothes for its photo shoot.”
The book—which has already hit the number one spot for photography collections on Amazon thanks to robust pre-orders—isn’t the end of Girls and Their Cats by any means. In fact, Wills says the series has helped her nab big photo gigs for Bust, Opening Ceremony, and Bare Minerals cosmetics.
“I'll take a little break. I do need just a little breather,” she says of the whirlwind last year of finishing the book and preparing for its release. “But it's just such a huge part of who I am and what I do. I love the community that I'm building and I have so many cool connections because of it. It’s worth every hour that I have spent on it.”