Once widely known throughout the United States for his wonderfully cute photographs of animals, Harry Whittier Frees began his career taking pictures for novelty postcards. By 1905 he was adding various props and clothing to the shots to give the animals a more human image. The photos lent themselves immediately to children's books, and by 1915 Frees had published several. His mother made most of the early outfits, which were designed to help hold the animals in what can only be described as 'unnatural' poses. In all his books though, Frees reassured readers that these very cute photographs of kittens, puppies and bunnies were made possible 'only by patient unfailing kindness on the part of the photographer at all times'. Frees often used his own animals, including his cats Rags and Fluff who were featured extensively in his early work. His photographs were used over several decades, and he continued to photograph and publish books until his death in 1953. This is the first time that Frees' extraordinary photographs have been collected together and published in the UK. Sylvie Treille introduces the book with a fascinating insight into Frees and the world of animal photography.
But inevitably it is the photographs that take centre stage. Almost a century old they are still as surprising and appealing as ever.
Frees was born in 1879. His family settled in Oaks, and it was that Harry developed his professional work. He remained there until the early 1940s when, after the death of his parents he moved to Florida. Suffering fron cancer he committed suicide in 1953 and was buried in a pauper's grave at Clearwater cemetry.