In 1914, Baby Animal Photography Made For Exhausting Work

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

From the early 1900s to 1950s, Harry Whittier Frees enjoyed a modicum of fame for his delightfully costumed and posed photographs of baby animals. Though he began photographing cute animals in 1902, he did not begin dressing them in tiny human costumes until 1905. As the story goes, his family was passing a paper hat around the table at a birthday party, and someone placed it on a cat’s head. Frees snapped a photo of the feline, and took it to a postcard maker, who demanded more.

h/t: retronaut

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

Borrowing his young models from neighbors, friends and local pet stores, Frees dressed them in costumes sewn by his mother and housekeeper, and delicately placed them in tiny tableaux.

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

Getting puppies and kittens to hold poses for 1/5-second exposures was nerve-wracking and repetitive work, and took a toll on Frees — he would only shoot for three months out of the year, spending the rest of his time recuperating and coming up with new ideas.

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

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Photo © by Harry Whittier Frees / Library of Congress

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