As a teenager, Alexandra Crockett was a fan of metal music. She said she originally got into Swedish death metal, Norwegian black metal, and East Coast death metal because “it was fast and extreme,” as well as some doom metal and thrash from the Pacific Northwest. Today, she’s getting a doctorate at a clinical psychology program in the San Francisco Bay Area with an emphasis on social justice and advocating. Sandwiched in between her studies she photographed 115 metalheads with their cats for a book titled Metal Cats, published by Powerhouse with a release date of May 6.
Crockett took the photographs between 2010 and 2012. She drove up and down the West Coast to each person’s home, armed mostly with printed-out directions since she didn’t have a smartphone. From Seattle to San Diego, Crockett would spend a couple of hours with the men she either already knew or met through friends or from her Facebook page for the project. Getting to the shoots turned out to be the easy part; making the pictures was another thing. “It was crazy,” Crockett said. “It wasn’t organized, it was out of control and it was just full on movement.”
This seems hardly surprising, since she was working with cats. Fortunately, Crockett is a patient person, and although she has plenty of outtakes from the project, she was able to achieve her own decisive moments for the book. “Most of the images used for the book are at a place when the cat has a split second of just looking at the light or looking at my camera like ‘What is that?’ and I have to snap it at that exact second.”
Metal Cats also shows a softer side of the men involved in the metal community. Crockett said that most of the men she photographed had rescued their cats from shelters; a portion of the proceeds from the book will benefit no-kill shelters in four of the cities she visited. “The book speaks to the fact that a lot of people in the [metal] scene rescue animals instead of getting them from breeders,” Crockett said. “You go into a shelter, and I think [the cats] choose you; you will see in the photos that they match their owners and personalities. That’s the one that that ties them together: They have a cat that matches them.”
Metal Cats will be released on May 6.