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Cabinet cards did not offer much of a quality difference from carte-de-visites until the mid-1880s, when higher quality photographic papers and the invention of cameras with faster shutter speeds and lenses with pin-sharp focussing capabilities came onto the market.  In fact, many cabinet card photographs from the late 1800s exhibit technical and compositional excellence to rival digital portraits taken today.  Such advancements not only provided the perfect media to showcase one's newfound prosperity, but to capture precious moments of human-animal kinship.  

Above: cabinet cards, ca.1895

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For this first generation of pet enthusiasts, animal ownership not only was a genuine pleasure, it was a point of pride--a sign that one had  "arrived" both financially and socially. 

Dogs in particular became a compositional accessory in portraits of this era, so much that any dog could fill the job, even if it was an inanimate one!


middle and bottom rows:  carte-de-visites, ca.1870-1885