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Warning: Dangerously Cute Animal Portraits Ahead

Ready for some gratuitous cute? We’ve got you covered. The Los Angeles–based photographer Sharon Montrose specializes in snapping animals removed from their natural environs. Pictured in front of a stark white background, the subjects display their own personalities and a peculiar awareness of the camera that makes them seem, well, human.

Montrose says that she began snapping animals after what she describes in the above video produced by Etsy as a “series of complete and total failures”: “I tried to do headshots, I tried to do weddings, I tried family portraits, and then I finally got the place where I really wasn’t digging it anymore.” At that point, she decided to shift her focus to shooting her family’s dogs. “Suddenly, I was just photographing dogs every day–that’s when it started.” Working with animal trainers, her purview has since expanded to include all types of wildlife, from otters to ostriches. “With these animals,” she says, “I prefer to kind of let them direct me, instead of me direct them. “They come in, they get in front of the camera, and they dictate what’s going to happen.”

These are among the pictures collected in Menagerie, available here for $5, a small-format book from HarperCollins that presents many of the photos in cloying frames. For affordable prints, visit Montrose’s online shop.BL