There has been a lot of interest lately in Dare Wright, the author/photographer who, starting with The Lonely Doll, created a series of children's books featuring black and white photographs of a young girl's doll posed in arranged tableaus with a teddy bear and other animals and toys.
Especially after the publication a few years ago of a new biography called "The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll" which chronicled her troubled life and offered a revisionist view of the pain and torment behind those seemingly innocent images.
But before Dare Wright, there was Dale Rooks, who pioneered some of the same techniques of introducing photography into the world of children's illustrated books, creating amazing tableaus using live animals posed in character and costume, and seemingly without the angst and trauma that fueled Wright's work and made her books so haunting.
I could not find a lot of biographical information on Dale Rooks, but I saw one post online that said that he died in 1954 at the age of 34. So young. I wonder how he passed away?
Here is a photo of his first book "The Three Little Bunnies."
Here is an image that would surely inspire Liberace.
I wonder how many hours it took to get this pose in the camera?
I love this outdoor woods set.
Something about Rooks' work feels like the predecessor to one of my all-time favorite movies, "Babe". I wonder if author Dick King-Smith ever stumbled across a copy of one of Dale Rooks' photo books of anthropomorphized animals growing up?
Stranger things have happened, that is for sure.
Tomorrow, more of Dale Rooks and his Amazing Books!