George Shiras III
BornJanuary 1, 1859
DiedMarch 24, 1942 (aged 83)
EducationCornell University
Law Yale College
OccupationPhotographer, lawyer, politician
StyleBlack-and-white nature photography
Spouse(s)Frances White

George Shiras III (January 1, 1859 – March 24, 1942) was a U.S. Representative from the state of Pennsylvania and nature photographer who pioneered the use of nighttime flash photography.

George Shiras (son of George Shiras Jr.) was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. He attended the public schools and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He graduated from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 1881 and from the law department of Yale College in 1883. He was admitted to the Connecticut and Pennsylvania bars in 1883 and commenced the practice of his profession in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served as a member of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives in 1889 and 1890. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in 1890.

Shiras was elected as an Independent Republican to the Fifty-eighth Congress. He did not seek renomination in 1904.


Both during and after his time in Congress, Shiras participated in biological research and photography, to the extent that National Geographic has described him as "the father of wildlife photography" for his early use of camera traps and flash photography.[1]

On February 14, 1906, Shiras was elected Associate Member of the Boone and Crockett Club, a conservation organization founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887.[2] He was credited with the discovery of a moose subspecies in Yellowstone National Park, which was named Alces alces shirasi, Shiras's Moose.[3] He died in Marquette, Michigan. Interment in Park Cemetery.

In 1935, Shiras published Hunting Wild Life with Camera and Flashlight: a Record of Sixty Five years' Visits to the Woods and Waters of North America, a two-volume set of over 960 of his wildlife photographs, including some of the earliest 'flash' photography.

Collections of his papers are held at the National Library of Medicine[4] and the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives[5]


  1. ^ Wender, Jessie (November 20, 2015). "Meet Grandfather Flash, the Pioneer of Wildlife Photography". National Geographic. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "Boone and Crockett Club Archives".
  3. ^ "Northern Michigan University" (PDF).
  4. ^ "George Shiras Papers 1897-1923". National Library of Medicine.
  5. ^ "George Shiras III papers". Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives.


U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byAt-large: Galusha A. Grow, Robert H. Foerderer Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 29th congressional district1903–1905 Succeeded byWilliam H. Graham