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Joann Biondi's Profile

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About the Photographer

Joann Biondi is a photographer and writer whose work has appeared in dozens of publications including The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Miami Herald, USA Today, Islands, and Travel & Leisure.

Her collection of Lorenzo the Cat photos challenge preconceived notions of what a cat will or will not do. They lie outside the grid of convention, and deliver a new perspective on the cliché of cats being stubborn and aloof. It is the juxtaposition of human clothing on a cat’s body that renders them startling, and at the same time, enchanting, intriguing, and compelling. Simple yet strange, the photos are a testament to the inherent beauty in the feline form. They spark the imagination, force us to smile, and speak to the bond among all sentient beings. And they are thump on the head to anyone who believes that animals…

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  • Born on October 31
  • Joined October 12, 2009

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About

About the Photographer

Joann Biondi is a photographer and writer whose work has appeared in dozens of publications including The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Miami Herald, USA Today, Islands, and Travel & Leisure.

Her collection of Lorenzo the Cat photos challenge preconceived notions of what a cat will or will not do. They lie outside the grid of convention, and deliver a new perspective on the cliché of cats being stubborn and aloof. It is the juxtaposition of human clothing on a cat’s body that renders them startling, and at the same time, enchanting, intriguing, and compelling. Simple yet strange, the photos are a testament to the inherent beauty in the feline form. They spark the imagination, force us to smile, and speak to the bond among all sentient beings. And they are thump on the head to anyone who believes that animals don’t have souls.

Biondi has donated Lorenzo the Cat prints to raise money for animal shelters in Florida and bird relief efforts following the Gulf Coast oil spill. She was one of 125 acclaimed photographers who donated their prints to Eyes and Hearts for Haiti, a post-earthquake art auction that raised money for Friends of the Orphans in Haiti. In August, her work was on display at the Nave Gallery in Somerville, Mass. In November it was exhibited at the Grove House Artists Gallery in Miami, Florida. From October of 2010 till February of 2011, the Cornell Museum of Art and American Culture hosted an exhibit of her Lorenzo the Cat photography.

She adopted Lorenzo when he was a few weeks old and instantly sensed that he had an unusual character for a cat. He did not purr and rarely meowed, but he watched her intently with a face that said, “Tell me what to do.” By the time he was three months old he was sitting up on command and jumping through hoops. Although eager to please, he was also a self-contained spirit with plenty of spunk—he loved to sink his teeth into a bare ankle as it passed him by.

He had another bad habit as well, and that was stealing panties from the dirty laundry basket. One day Biondi got mad at him for this and decided to get even. She put a spandex tank top over his head and onto his body. Lorenzo was unfazed. He adjusted his shoulders, threw out his chest, and looked at her with an expression that said, “You think this bothers me? Well it doesn’t. In fact, I like it.” He walked around wearing that tank top for days.

That was when Biondi suspected she had a natural model on her hands. She took a few snapshots of Lorenzo wearing clothes and the images were so funny people laughed out loud. She then took more, and realized that for Lorenzo, the camera was catnip. He loved it. And he loved wearing clothes. It was as if he knew that that’s what he was put on the planet to do. Wear clothes, pose for the camera, and make people laugh.

They have a lot of fun together, Biondi and Lorenzo, and what takes place between them is nothing less than a respectful collaboration. Lorenzo knows what’s going on. When the clothes come out and the lens cap is removed, he’s ready to go to work. He is an active, earnest participant in the shoot. And when he’s in the mood, he can totally work it, serve it, slam it, and bring it on home.

Yes, Biondi attributes “human characteristics” to Lorenzo, and to claims that she is guilty of anthropomorphism she says, feh! Like Charles Darwin, she sees the difference between humans and animals as a matter of degree rather than kind, and believes cats—and all animals—do indeed feel and express emotions. She thinks there is an innate intelligence inside Lorenzo’s furry little head, and she tries to capture that intelligence in her photographs. And she does so naturally; no Photoshop magic wand involved.

Feature stories about Lorenzo the Cat have appeared in USA Today, Miami Herald, New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Seattle Times, Palm Beach Post, Times of India, China Daily News, MSNBC, ABC News, Yahoo! News, and the Huffington Post.

About Lorenzo the Cat

A Maine Coon with the patience of a Buddhist monk and the soul of a philosopher, Lorenzo the Cat was born on Halloween and tossed in a garbage can at birth—a traumatic ordeal that he has fully recovered from without the aid of psychotherapy.

He has a big hairy chest, luminous green eyes, and a thick bushy tail that occasionally curls up and hits him on the head. He smells like a fresh summer rain, and sleeps with his paws covering his ears. Sensitive yet masculine in that Italian soccer player sort of way, he’s calm, confident, and superbly sweet-tempered. He never cries over spilt milk; he just laps it up. He is one cool cat.

He loves going for walks on a leash and thinks that people who laugh at him for doing so are jerks. His hobbies include tormenting lizards, peeing in potted plants, napping on good books, chasing rubber bands, eating refrigerator dust, studying the physics of toilette water swirl, and contemplating the meaning of life.

Lorenzo has a fetish for fashion, but he is not gay—not that there’s anything wrong with that. Although not quite a metro-sexual, he appreciates the perks that come with always looking your best. He loves fine clothes, preferably stylishly casual shirts left unbuttoned at the neck. Every few months he places an order with Mr. Luigi, his personal tailor who lives in Tuscany. Lorenzo does not wear pants or hats, and he refuses to model in the nude.

He has his own MySpace page, YouTube channel, and Facebook fan page and is a hit with animals throughout the world. Every day he gets messages from cats, dogs, hamsters, donkeys, pigs, and parrots who cheer him on. He also tweets on Twitter.

Without a doubt, he is the best dressed cat in America.

His motto: “I like to wear clothes. And what…you don’t”

For more information, visit: www.LorenzoTheCat.com

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