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Interview: Rachael McKenna – 1

The Kiwi Cat

New Zealander Rachael McKenna is one of the world’s most celebrated photographers specialising in animal and baby photography. She is the author of The French Cat among other titles. Read her two-episode interview to discover all about her inspirations, challenges and triumphs.

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Rachael, how would you describe yourself in three adjectives?

Friendly, enthusiastic and patient!

What is your connection to France?

It is a country I fell in love with when I first visited about 15 years ago. I swore to myself I would return and spend some time here… and it is also a place my husband is extremely fond of.

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And now onto your French favourites…

You spent six months in France. Which is your favourite region of the country?

Of course I love the Languedoc where we have chosen to live, but my heart definitely has a soft spot for many parts of the Provence region, and I would not say no to a stint in Paris… France is magical whatever region you set foot in.

Which is your favourite café, bistro or restaurant in Paris?

I can’t say I have a specific favourite, but whenever we stay in Paris we stay in St-Germain-des-Prés. The streets in this area are packed with adorable cafés, deliciously filled delicatessens, bars and restaurants galore with always with the most friendly staff… Spoilt for choice, we love to try as many different places as possible.

Which is your favourite gallery or museum in Paris?

There are so many wonders in the art world of Paris, but like many others, the Louvre always captivates me. I can get lost within the halls of this magnificent gallery for hours.

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Where is your favourite place in Paris to shoot photos and why?

Paris is full of inspiration and fantastic places to photograph. I have just recently spent a week there photographing for the book The French Dog (due for release in May 2012). I had the pleasure of spending time with a dog walker who had seven dogs under his care at the time. I followed them around the streets of St-Germain, through the Jardin des Tuileries (near the Louvre), down to the Seine for a swim and then to the Place de la Concorde for another swim in the fountain. It was a wonderful way to photograph dogs living their lives as they do in Paris and every photograph was graced with a magnificent background of stunning historical Paris.

Who is your favourite French photographer (or film director or cinematographer)?

The simplicity, beauty and emotion that is created by photographer Patrick Demarchelier has inspired me from the first day I saw his images. His portraits are timeless masterpieces.

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Thank you Rachael for taking the time to speak to us at My French Life™. We’ve enjoyed getting to know more about you and your photography, your photographic journey and your French favorites. To find out more about Rachael, you can see her website. Read Episode 2 of our interview with Rachael, here

All images credit Rachael McKenna. Many of these images appear in her exquisite book The French Cat. To WIN a copy of The French Cat, see our Facebook page


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