The invisible mother ~ This was a practice where the mother, often disguised or hiding, often under a spread, holds her baby tightly for the photographer to insure a sharply focused image. Portraits from Linda Fregni Nagler's book The Hidden Mother
A Victorian "hidden mother' memento mori / post mortem photo / photograph. In the Victorian Era, women holding infants were often covered; because the photograph is meant to be cropped to show only the infant.
These two children had their photograph taken on a beach near North Berwick. In the late Victorian period amateur photography was still quite technically demanding and few families could afford the equipment or time required - both appear bored with
This is a picture of a little person, Edward Garrett, who played a baby in the farce "The Little Stranger" on Broadway. So, the picture is not as weird as it looks. It is a picture of a man, not a child.