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Eyes of a Cat

By Shi Yingying (China Daily)

08:02, April 24, 2012

Peggy Chien (below right), who has taken street cat photos for seven years, says she wants the images to represent Taiwan's diverse scenery and customs.

A Taiwan photographer captures the island from a feline's angle. Shi Yingying gets down on four paws to share the view.

The model poses before the camera as she averts her eyes from the prying lens and turns her head gracefully into another direction. Suddenly, she jumps onto the roof and vanishes without a trace, leaving the camerawoman somewhat disappointed.

"But that's just what cats do, you've got to be patient," shrugs Peggy Chien (or Chien Pei-ling) after seven years of photographing street cats.

"Most stray cats flee immediately at the sight of humans. Rarely do they allow us to look at them, not to mention letting their pictures be taken," said the 43-year-old photographer from Taiwan, who has spent six to seven hours waiting for one perfect capture of cat. Chien won the top prize at a photo competition in Japan's Tashirojima Island, where people worship cats as gods, in 2009.

Once a piano teacher, Chien says her connection with street cats came from her veterinary husband in 2005. "I've been rescuing street cats for a while before I started taking pictures of them - I'm trying to rectify the name for stray cats through my lens - they're not smelly creatures, they're adorable feline charmers," insists the "Cat Lady".

More than just a nickname, "Cat Lady" is also the name for Chien's blog where she posts photos and videos about cats. With a different angle of observing - the one that is about 25 centimeters high (height of the cat) - Chien's witty pictures are not only about capturing her feline subjects, but also about looking at Taiwan from a new perspective.

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