This series by LA-based, Spanish animal photographer Alicia Rius truly captures every fold and wrinkle of these beautifully bizarre creatures. “There’s something disturbing yet eerie that astonishes me every time I look at the Sphynx,” says Rius of her feline muses. “The breed shows what a true cat is; everything is raw, exposed and vulnerable.”
Working only with natural light and a few backdrops, Rius wanted her work to be an exploration of the Sphynx’s fascinating body. “Without a fluffy coat, you can see the real anatomy of the cat – the way their skin twists and the bat-alike armpits. These are things that you could have never seen in a hairy cat.”
Certainly not everybody’s cup of tea, the Sphynx seems to fall into the love-it or hate-it category. “A lot of people like the Sphynx because they are hypoallergenic, but the main reason people are drawn to them is because they are unique,” she says.
Working with three owners and their cats, Rius found that looks can be deceiving with these curious animals. “They appear edgy, aggressive and odd, but actually their personalities are bright, joyful and very affectionate. They are always looking for games to keep themselves warm and can be quite fun and goofy. They also feel like caressing velvet to touch.”
Photographing cats can be notoriously difficult, so Rius needed plenty of patience when working with the Sphynxes. “I let them be, run around and sniff all my gear. Once they didn’t feel that urge to investigate anymore, I placed them in my portable little set. I used toys, treats and sounds to keep them moving until I got the shot I was going for. For example, the photo of the open paw took me three different cats until I got it the way I envisioned it.”
*All images copyright Alicia Rius Photography