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ONE PHOTO – ONE STORY

24.05.2022

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“I usually like to get lost and avoid touristy areas when I am in foreign cities. This was the case on that day when I was walking along the sidewalk on a very busy street in Shanghai. It was a local area with lots of cigarette and grocery stores. There were many animals ambling around – dogs and cats were everywhere! All of a sudden, I spotted this kitten sitting in front of a store with a four feet rope tied around its neck. It did have food and water, so it was obviously taken care of — but on such a short leash it had absolutely no freedom. I felt really bad and so sorry for this cat…

Since I wasn’t in a touristy area, I couldn’t talk to anybody there or read the signs. I didn’t have any clue what kind of shop it was. The only thing I could recognize was the sign behind the cat with some price tags. I remember they had money cats in the windows, but I don’t know much about this culture.

I thought a lot about the cat and how strange it was to see it tied to a pole. I’m used to seeing this kind of scene with a dog on a leash, but cats have freedom to roam. Especially in Shanghai where there were stray cats all over the place. Obviously this cat is loved and the owner wants it to stay nearby, but it was a little unsettling and confusing at the time.

This picture is a reminder of living within my limitations due to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Having what I need to survive, but still tied down by the short leash of pain. The kitten is sitting proudly at the furthest point on the right, away from its water and food, before the rope gets tight and uncomfortable. One step away from pushing its boundaries and choking itself. This is where I need to be to achieve the things I want in life. It’s difficult to push yourself through pain, but not to the point where it makes life more difficult than it already is. Finding the furthest point to push myself without over-pushing is a very important thing in dealing with chronic pain. It is something I’m constantly learning, as the metaphorical rope is sometimes shorter or longer, day to day; but it's still very important to try and live a life of meaning and purpose, by capturing the world around me.“

Text and image: © Terry LaRue
Equipment: Leica M (Typ 240) with Summarit-M 50 f/2.4


Find out more about the photography of Terry LaRue in LFI Magazine 4/2022
© Terry LaRue

Terry LaRue

Born in Riverside, California in 1985, LaRue is self taught and lives in Seattle. For 15 years he made video movies, documenting skateboarders with a prosumer camcorder. Among others, he worked for companies such as Emerica Shoes, Bones Wheels, and Powell-Peralta. In 2014 he broke his left thumb and had to find a new line of life. In 2017 LaRue travelled to Shanghai to work on his first editorial piece of work.

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