Bizarre or trending subjects, catch a break with our curiosity of the week. Nikita Teryoshin produced Backyard Diaries, a zine dedicated to alley cats – urban felines with distinct characters.

Originally from Saint-Petersburg and now based in Berlin, Nikito Teryoshin is a photojournalist known for his long-term projects, often documenting subjects remaining in the shadows – from dairy cows in Hornless Heritage to “the back office of war” with Nothing Personal. Defining his practice as “urban and documentary”, the photographer works to highlight the “everyday horror” with a certain cynicism.

“At some point I became a bit disappointed with some publications and the small number of pictures chosen for their articles – there is just not enough space for long photo reportages inside magazines anymore. So, during the lockdown I started publishing zines, to be able to make my own decisions and tell different kinds of stories with pictures”, he tells us.

The felines of the urban world

Among these publications is Backyard Diaries, a “catzine” dedicated to alley cats. Shot with a blinding flash and saturated colours, to “contrast with the grey and dusty backyards”, the felines appear like real big shots, fiercely reigning over their territories. “Last summer I met some of them in the backyard of a friend’s house, where I lived, and I was really surprised, to discover how interested, how scarred by life they were. So, I decided to follow their paths for a while, and later on, I continued the project in Bangkok and Atlantic City”, says Nikita Teryoshin.

On the zine’s pages, no cute kittens, but tomcats guided by one thing only: survival. Far from the representations of racy animals, Backyard Diaries showcases the animals of the urban world, the ones that we forget and neglect. Miniature felines relying on their instincts to sleep and eat. “These pictures show their struggles but also beautiful moments of cohesion”, the artist adds. Photographed as human beings, cats reveal their personalities, their singularities. Thus brought to light, they become the spokespersons for all street dwellers – too often ignored.

 

Backyard Diaries Vol. 1, Pupupublishing editions, 22€, 48 p. 

© Nikita Teryoshin