I’m an admitted “crazy cat lady” so I take some comfort in the fact that it’s not just me who likes to take ridiculous pictures of her cat. For instance, English photographer Harry Pointer, who in the 1800s took around 200 pictures of his “Brighton Cats” in somewhat ridiculous poses. Then there’s Harry Whittier Frees who started his work in 1906 by putting a party hat on his cat. Hit the jump to learn more and gander at some old-timey cats.
Sussex Photo History gives us some background on Pointer. “During the 1870s, the Brighton photographer Harry Pointer (1822-1889) became well known for a series of carte-de-visite photographs which featured his pet cats. Pointer began by taking conventional photographs of cats resting, drinking milk or sleeping in a basket, but from around 1870 he specialised in photographing cats in a variety of poses, placing his cats in settings that would create a humorous or appealing picture. Pointer often arranged his cats in unusual poses that mimicked human activities,” they write.
Unlike many on the internet these days who put hilarious captions on kitty photos simply to share joy with the world, Pointer realized he could make a profit off attaching words to his photos. “Pointer increased the commercial potential of his cat pictures by adding a written greeting such as “A Happy New Year” or “Very many happy returns of the day“. Purchasers sent the small cartes-de-visite as tiny greetings cards, thereby publicizing Pointer’s distinctive cat photographs,” they write. “By 1872, Harry Pointer had created over one hundred different captioned images of cats. Harry Pointer’s series of cat photographs were collectively known as “The Brighton Cats”.
And here’s a few from Frees, who put together a photography book of his work in 1929 called Animal Land On The Air. He said, “Puppies are tractable when rightly understood, but the kitten is the most versatile animal actor, and possesses the greatest variety of appeal.”