Speak of cute cat photos with amusing captions and the LOLcats will surely come to mind first, but apparently, these adorable and hilarious photos are not inventions born out of the Internet age. An American photographer actually did it first way back in the early 1900s!
During a birthday party in 1906, an American photographer named Harry Whittier Frees saw somebody put a birthday hat on the pet cat and thought it would make a nice photo. So he did and unbeknownst to him, he would make a career out of it.
Soon, he dressed up his own cats, Rags and Fluff, as well as his neighbor’s pet cats, dogs, rabbits, pigs, and dogs in outfits sewn by his mother. The clothes were designed to help support the animals in standing positions. He also eventually added props and scenery, his set-up growing more elaborate. To take his photos, Frees said he had to wait patiently for the shot that he wanted. “These unusual photographs of real animals were made possible only by patient, unfailing kindness on the part of the photographer at all times,” Frees noted.
“Speed is essential in securing these pictures, but very often it is impossible to be quick enough. Young animals cannot hold a pose any better than human babies, and the situation is complicated when they are called on to be precocious in situations naturally foreign to them," he added.
Frees eventually met success with his photography that was rather unusual for his time. He sold his photos to a postcard printer who liked them and asked for more. It was only a matter of time until his photos were featured on calendars, advertisements, and children’s and women’s magazines. They may be kitsch, but definitely cute kitsch, and his work has also become highly collectible.