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Camera Features

  • Camera Features was a photo agency founded by the photographer Werner Wolff and other colleagues of the photo agency PIX.
  • Name:
    Camera Features
  • Kind of Organisation:
    Photo Agency
  • Introduction:

    Camera Features was a photo agency founded by the photographer Werner Wolff and other colleagues of the photo agency PIX.

    Word Count: 20

  • Content:

    The founding year of Camera Features is recorded as being 1939 (Manco 2012, 24). But research has revealed pictures in Life magazine’s December 12, 1938, issue which are credited to “Werner Wolff – Camera Features”. This suggests that the agency was founded a year earlier. Several more Camera Features pictures were printed in Life over subsequent years.

    In his autobiography, Werner Wolff wrote: “With two other man from PIX I founded a small picture agency called Camera Features which was only moderately successful financially but gave a start with some of the major magazines such as Life, Time, Mademoiselle and others no longer in existence. Our firm was dissolved in 1942 after I was drafted in the U.S. Army.” (Werner Wolff Archive, AG02.2009.0297:211a/b)

    Correspondence and agency stamps reveal that one of Wolff's partners was Walter Brockmann and that Camera Features was first located in Chelsea, at 114 West 16th Street, just four blocks west of the New School for Social Research. According to a letter of 1942, it later moved to 31 West 56th Street, in the Central Park area, close to a number of other art and photo galleries like the Norlyst Gallery, Julien Levy Gallery and the Wheyhe Gallery.

    Word Count: 195

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    114 West 16th Street, Chelsea, New York City (1938–?); 31 West 56th Street, Central Park South, New York City (?–1942).

  • Signature Image:
    Camera Features stamp (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Chapnick, Ben. Truth Needs No Ally. Inside Photojournalism. University of Missouri Press, 1994.

    Goldsmith, Arthur. The photography Game. What is and how to play it. Viking Press, 1971.

    Manco, Sara L. Finding Wolff: Intellectually Arranging the Werner Wolff Fonds at the Ryerson Image Centre (master thesis, Ryerson Image Center, Toronto, 2012), Paper 1264.

    Ream, Tim. The Life Of Werner Wolff: An Analysis Of Werner Wolff’s Contributions To Life Magazine (master thesis, Ryerson University, Toronto, 2014).

    Schaber, Irme. “Fotografie.” Handbuch der deutschsprachigen Emigration 1933–1945, edited by Claus-Dieter Krohn and Patrick von zur Mühlen, WBG, 1998, pp. 970–983.

    Word Count: 90

  • Archives and Sources:

    Werner Wolff Archive, Ryerson Image Center, University of Toronto.

    Word Count: 9

  • Acknowledgements:

    My deepest thanks go to Steven Wolff of the Werner Wolff Estate and the Ryerson Image Center, Toronto for providing me with photographs and archival material.

    Word Count: 26

  • Author:
    Helene Roth
  • Date of Founding:
  • Date of Disbandment:
  • Participants (selection):

    Werner Wolff

  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Entry in process:
  • Helene Roth. "Camera Features." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 16-12-2022.
  • Werner Wolff
    New York

    Werner Wolff was forced to leave Germany in 1936 due to his Jewish background and emigrated via Hamburg to New York, where he could follow his career as photographer and photojournalist.

    Word Count: 30

    Lotte Jacobi
    New York

    In October 1935 the German émigré photographer Lotte Jacobi, together with her sister Ruth Jacobi, opened a photo studio on 57th Street. The two sisters had to leave their parents' photo studio in Berlin in the 1930s and emigrated to New York.

    Word Count: 41

    Black Star Agency
    Photo Agency
    New York

    The German émigrés Kurt S(z)afranski, Ern(e)st Mayer and Kurt Kornfeld founded Black Star in 1936. The photo agency established was a well-run networking institution in New York.

    Word Count: 31

    Schocken Books
    Publishing House
    New York

    Schocken Books was a publishing house established in 1945 in New York by the Russian émigré Salman Schocken (1898–1959). It specialised in books on Judaica and Hebrew topics.

    Word Count: 26

    Rapho Guillumette
    Photo Agency
    New York

    Founded in 1940 by the emigrant Charles Rado (1899–1970), Rapho Guillumette was a picture agency.

    Word Count: 13

    Three Lions Inc.
    Photo Agency
    New York

    Little is known about this photo agency, which was founded by two German émigré brothers, Max Georg and Walter Löwenherz in 1937 in New York

    Word Count: 25

    Pavelle Laboratories Inc.
    Photo LabPhoto Supplier
    New York

    Pavelle Laboratories was found in 1936 by Leo and Carmen Pavelle and operated on East 42nd Street. It was specialised in the development of miniature camera film and one of the first labs working with colour film.

    Word Count: 36

    Monkmeyer Photo Service
    Photo Agency
    New York

    The Monkmeyer Photo Service photo agency was founded around 1935/36 by the German émigrés Hilde and Paul August Monkmeyer in New York City.

    Word Count: 23

    PIX Publishing Inc.
    Photo Agency
    New York

    PIX Publishing Inc. was a photo agency founded in New York in 1935 by photo agent Leon Daniel and Celia Kutschuk, together with German émigré photographers Alfred Eisenstaedt and George Karger.

    Word Count: 30

    New School for Social Research
    Academy/Art SchoolPhoto SchoolUniversity / Higher Education Institute / Research Institute
    New York

    During the 1940s and 1950s emigrated graphic designers and photographers, along with artists and intellectuals, were given the opportunity to held lectures and workshops at the New School for Social Research.

    Word Count: 31

    Norlyst Gallery
    GalleryArt Gallery
    New York

    Founded in 1943 by the American painter and art collector Elenore Lust, the Norlyst Gallery represented a cross section of contemporary painting, photography and other media focusing on surrealist and abstract expressionist styles and promoting women artists and photographers.

    Word Count: 38

    Weyhe Gallery
    Art Gallery
    New York

    Opened in 1919 by the German-born art dealer Erhard Weyhe opened a bookstore and gallery space specialised in contemporary European artists and was the first to specialise in prints.

    Word Count: 28

    Julien Levy Gallery
    Art Gallery
    New York

    The Julien Levy Gallery was founded by the art dealer Julien Levy (1906–1981) in 1931, and was situated in the New York gallery district around 57th Street, where the Weyhe and Norlyst Gallery were also located.

    Word Count: 34