Staidly dressed (in most cases) and stiffly posed, the subjects of these images are pristine examples of vintage Victorian visiting cards, with a wild twist.
For on the shoulders of each model rests the head of an animal, producing a post-Darwinian alternative to the “cartes-de-visite” craze of the 19th century.
Created by artist Charlotte Cory, these charming, at times sinister creations, combine the faded sepia photographs found in countless junkshops with portraits of stuffed animals from both museums and her own collection.
The combined result of these dispossessed images and long-dead beasts are featured in a book called You Animal, You!
A series of essays accompany the works, placing Cory’s art in context and with an introduction to the world of “Visitorians” by the author A.N. Wilson.
Sophie Gordon, curator of the Royal Photograph Collection and Harrogate Borough Council art curator Jane Sellers also provide commentary on the work.
And even the Queen is a fan – for Her Majesty has purchased two pieces to hang on the walls of Windsor Castle.
Works entitled The Corgi Queen and By Royal Appointment are set to be displayed in the Round Tower.
Cory told Huffington Post UK: “The language of photography is vicious, it’s the language of shooting and catching.
“I am a passionate vegetarian but we accept taxidermy, that animals were shot and presented this way.
“We are animals and I’m playing with things that are profoundly disturbing.
“The more you think about it, it’s to do with our view of ourselves and the way we treat the animal kingdom.”
You Animal, You! is available from Black Dog Publishing for £19.95