Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: There are endless examples of early images of kittens dressed up and doing cute human-type things. However, I have never purchased one until this one hit my radar recently. It just cracks me up! As you can see by the writing, it is Dutch. A very rough translation gratis Google tells me that this is a bit of advertising and the back informs the recipient (this one not used) that the vendors hope to see them this week and that they offer high value for their orders – whatever those might be. The front makes reference to “our kitties which will soon be in the air!” (Any readers who speak Dutch please reply below!) What were these kitties selling? I’m buying!
I am always threatening to dress the cats up and take their photo – Kim begs me not to injure their dignity that way and I am brought to my senses. This image strikes me as a perfect marriage of low tech and professional – like those glorious ‘homemade’ cars and machines the Little Rascals used to have. I especially love the balloon!
I gather the key mover behind the cats-dressed-as-people movement was Harry Whittier Frees (1879-1953) – sort of a Louis Wain of early photography. I snatched the quote below from Wikipedia and it come from his own book, Animal Land on the Air, discussing the superiority of kittens as models,
Rabbits are the easiest to photograph in costume, but incapable of taking many ‘human’ parts. Puppies are tractable when rightly understood, but the kitten is the most versatile animal actor, and possesses the greatest variety of appeal. Yay kittens!
The practice spread widely beyond Whittier Frees – as we can assume this card was made by someone else. For a healthy serving of these I suggest this site on littlethings.com. I have stolen a single image from it, shown below by an unidentified photographer.