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Camera Features

  • 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:
    1939
  • Date of Disbandment:
    1942
  • Participants (selection):

    Werner Wolff

  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Helene Roth. "Camera Features." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2948/object/5145-10774289, last modified: 03-03-2022.
  • Werner Wolff
    Photographer

    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, Werner Wolff, 1943, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    “Speaking of Pictures. Mrs. Roosevelt Takes Voice Lessons.” Life, 13 March 1939, pp. 6–9 (Photo: Helene Roth).Agreement between Black Star and Werner Wolff, 1947 (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).Camera Features stamp (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).Contact sheets for reportage on Empire State Building by Werner Wolff, 1946 (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).Rear side of contact sheets for reportage on Empire State Building by Werner Wolff, 1946 (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).Text for reportage on Empire State Building, written by Werner Wolff, 1946 (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).List of images and description for reportage on Empire State Building, written by Werner Wolff, 1946 (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).“Daredevil at Work” reportage by Werner Wolff in Popular Photography, September 1946, p. 39 (Photo: Helene Roth).Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).
    New York
    Lotte Jacobi
    Photographer

    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

    Lotte Jacobi, Self-portrait, New York, 1937 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).
    Lotte Jacobi, Central Park, New York, 1936 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, New York Stock Exchange, New York, 1938 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Ernst Fuhrmann, New York, 1942 (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Hanya Holm dancing with troup, 1937 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Flyer for Lotte Jacobi’s exhibition at the Norlyst Gallery, 1948 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Willi Wolfradt. "Lichtbild-Schöpfungen." Aufbau, 15 October 1948, p. 19.Lotte Jacobi, Werner Wolff, 1943, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).Lotte Jacobi, Ruth Bernhard, 1945, New York (© 2021. University of New Hampshire).
    New York
    Black Star Agency
    Photo Agency

    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

    Letterhead of Black Star (Black Star Archive. Ryerson Image Center, Photo: Helene Roth).
    Logo and Stamp of Black Star Photo Agency (Photo: Helene Roth, 2019).Description of Black Star in a photographic guide (Ahlers, Arvel W.. Where & how to sell your pictures. Photography Publishing Corp., 1953, p. 45).Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).Facade and entrance of the Graybar Building on Lexington Avenue (Photo: Helene Roth, 2018).Cover of Selling Your Pictures by Kurt Safranski (Ziff Davis Publishing Company, 1940).Black Star contract by Fred Stein, April 1, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).Announcement of "Pictorial Journalism. Photographs as a Language and their special Problems" course by Kurt Safranski at the New School for Social Research, Spring 1949 (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York).Letterhead with the logo and address of Black Star (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York
    Schocken Books
    Publishing House

    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

    Schocken Books logo (Private Archive Helene Roth).
    Letterhead of Schocken Books Inc., May 1955, Lotte Jacobi Archive, Correspondence (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Letterhead of Schocken Books Inc., July 1955, Lotte Jacobi Archive, Correspondence (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Letterhead of Schocken Books Inc., 1973, Lotte Jacobi Archive, Correspondence (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).First page of Polish Jews. A Pictorial Record by Roman Vishniac (Schocken Books, 1947).Robert Cromie. “Exceptional Photos Made by Roman Vishniac.” Chicago Tribune, 7 September 1947, p. 221.
    New York
    Rapho Guillumette
    Photo Agency

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

    Word Count: 13

    Rapho Guillumette agency letter to Fred Stein, 1944 (© Fred Stein Archive).
    New York
    Three Lions Inc.
    Photo Agency

    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

    Logo of Three Lions Inc. (© Center for Creative Photography, Marion Palfi Archive, AG 46:1A).
    Mention of Three Lions in a photographic guide (Ahlers, Arvel W.. Where & how to sell your pictures. Photography Publishing Corp., 1953, p. 46).Job advertisement of Three Lions published in Aufbau magazine, 1. September 1939, no. 16, p. 26 (Photo: Helene Roth).Advertisement of Three Lions (Billboard, 11 February 1967, p. 37).
    New York
    Pavelle Laboratories Inc.
    Photo LabPhoto Supplier

    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

    Logo of Pavelle Laboratories in Popular Photography, December 1943, p. 88.
    Article on Pavelle Laboratories (White 1951, 131).Article on Pavelle Laboratories in White 1951, 132–133).Advertisement for Pavelle Laboratories in Popular Photography, December 1943, p. 88.
    New York
    Monkmeyer Photo Service
    Photo Agency

    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

    Logo of Monkmeyer Photo Services (Photo: Helene Roth)
    New York
    PIX Publishing Inc.
    Photo Agency

    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

    Letterhead of PIX Inc. – Correspondence Daniel Leon with Fred Stein, 1943, cropped detail (© Fred Stein Archive).
    Letterhead of PIX Inc. – Correspondence Daniel Leon with Fred Stein, 1943 (© Fred Stein Archive).Mention of PIX Publishing in a photographic guide (Ahlers 1953, p. 46).
    New York
    New School for Social Research
    Academy/Art SchoolPhoto SchoolUniversity / Higher Education Institute / Research Institute

    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

    Werner Wolff, K.S. Safranski’s Class in Pictorial Journalism, 1950 (New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection © Steven Wolff).
    Announcement of "Art Applied to Graphic Journalism, Advertising, Design, Fashion" course by Alexey Brodovitch, published in New School Bulletin. Art Classes, 1942/43, p. 11 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Announcement of "Pictorial Journalism" course by Kurt Safranski in New School Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 9, 1944, p. 84 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Announcement of "The Small Camera In Photography Today" course by Lisette Model. New School Bulletin. Art Classes, vol. 9, no. 2, September 1951, front cover and p. 34 (© New School course catalog collection, NS-05-01-01. The New School Archives).Lisette Model at New School by Joe Covello, 1960s, New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection, NS.04.01.01:16 (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York, NY).Portrait Alvin Saunders Johnson by Fred Stein, New School for Research Archive, Photograph Collection (© Fred Stein Archive).Flyer of “New Architecture and City Planning” symposium by Paul Zucker (© The New School Archives and Special Collection, The New School, New York, NY).
    New York
    Norlyst Gallery
    GalleryArt Gallery

    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

    Flyer for the Captured Light exhibition (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy of The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:29).
    Announcement for the Captured Light exhibition (© The Josef and Yaye Breitenbach Charitable Foundation, courtesy The Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG90:29).Flyer for Lotte Jacobi’s exhibition at the Norlyst Gallery, 1948 (© 2020. University of New Hampshire).Willi Wolfradt. "Lichtbild-Schöpfungen." Aufbau, 15 October 1948, p. 19.
    New York
    Weyhe Gallery
    Art Gallery

    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

    Address of Weyhe Gallery (Photo: Helene Roth).
    "Ylla." The New Yorker, 14 February 1942, pp.11f.
    New York
    Julien Levy Gallery
    Art Gallery

    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

    T. Lux Feininger, The Painter Muriel Streeter and Julien Levy, 1940, New York (© The Estate of T. Lux Feininger, Repro: www.Kunst-Archive.net).
    Exhibition flyer Paintings of Ships by T. Lux Feininger at the Julien Levy Gallery from May, 7 until December, 31 1937 (© T. Lux Feininger Estate).Exhibition flyer by Theodore Lux Feininger at the Julien Levy Gallery from January, 21 until January, 31 1947 (© T. Lux Feininger Estate).Announcement of the exhibition Modern European Photography at the Julien Levy Gallery (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 21 February 1932, p. 52).
    New York