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Three Lions Inc.

  • Name:
    Three Lions Inc.
  • Kind of Organisation:
    Photo Agency
  • Introduction:

    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

  • Content:

    Max and Walter Löwenherz fled Germany in the 1930s to join their brother Heinz in Amsterdam, where he had a photo agency. It is not known if Max and Walter already had a picture agency in Germany. Max and Walter then succeeded in emigrating to New York, while Heinz and his family were arrested when the Netherlands were invaded by German troops and died in a concentration camp. The name of the photo agency, “Three Lions”, is in honour of the three brothers and a reference to their surname Löwenherz, which means lionheart.

    Among the émigré photojournalists represented by the agency were Kurt Severin (who made a portrait series of Stefan Zweig in New York and was also a freelancer with Black Star Agency), Stefan Lorant and Germain Kellerman.
    Sensitive about their own Jewish backgrounds and experiences of anti-semitism, the agency's proprietors advised émigré photographers to Americanise their surnames. Among those who followed this advice was Jack Mendelsohn (1920-2001), born the son of Romanian emigrants on the Lower East Side, who changed his name to Jack Manning. Trained at the Photo League, Manning sold his work to the Black Star Agency as well as to Three Lions.
    Photo credits to be found in several issues of Life magazine attest to the fact that Three Lions provided an international network to photographers from all over the world. Among these were German émigré Hugo Brehme in Mexico City (Life, 17 April, 1944) and Christian Straub in Vienna (Popular Photography, February 1981, p. 35). Under the slogan "Our cover pictures are known everywhere” (Art Direction, vol. 19, 1967, p. 117) the agency's pictures appeared in advertisements.
    Located at 545 5th Avenue, the agency was close to Grand Central Station and to other photo agencies founded by German émigrés, such as Rapho Guillemette, PIX Inc., Camera Feature, Photo Representatives, Monkemayer, European Picture Service and photo labs (Leco Photo Service, Service Photo Suppliers, Modernage, Spiratone, Pavelle Laboratories) and the headquarters of several magazines (Life, Look, Popular Photography, Graphic House).

    Word Count: 329

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    545 5th Avenue, Midtown Manhattan, New York City.

  • Signature Image:
    Logo of Three Lions Inc. (© Center for Creative Photography, Marion Palfi Archive, AG 46:1A).
  • Media:
    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).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Ahlers, Arvel W. Where & how to sell your pictures. Photography Publishing Corp., 1953.

    Bouqueret, Christian. Des années folles. Aux années noires. La nouvelle vision photographique en France 1920–1940. Marval, 1997.

    Gilbert, George. The Illustrated Worldwide Who’s Who of Jews in Photography. G. Gilbert, 1996.

    Morgan, Willard D., editor. The Encyclopedia of Photography: The complete photographer. The comprehensive guide and reference for all photographers. Greystone, 1963–1964.

    Word Count: 64

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

    Hugo Brehme, Jack Manning, Kurt Severin, Christian Straub.

  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Entry in process:
  • Helene Roth. "Three Lions Inc.." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 13-10-2022.
  • 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
    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
    Leco Photo Service
    Photo Lab

    Leco Photo Service was a photofinishing lab, highly-frequented and a contact hub for émigré photographers and photo agencies during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as a provider of employment for women in the photo industry.

    Word Count: 36

    Advertisment Leco Photo Service (Photo: Helene Roth).
    Leco Photo Service mentioned in Etna Kelley. “Woman in Photography.”, Popular Photography, June 1945, pp. 23 (Photo: Helene Roth).Article on Leco Photo Service by Etna Kelley. “Photofinishing Plus.” Popular Photography, February 1947, pp. 84–85 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    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
    Photo Agency

    Photo-Representatives was a photo agency founded by the photographers Erika Stone and Anita Beer in 1953.

    Word Count: 15

    Stamp of the photo agency Photo Representatives (© Erika Stone, Courtesy of Katarina Doerner Photographs, Brooklyn, NY).
    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
    Camera Features
    Photo Agency

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

    Word Count: 20

    Camera Features stamp (The Family of Werner Wolff © Ryerson Image Center).
    New York
    European Picture Service
    Photo Agency

    The European Picture Service was a photo agency located in Midtown Manhattan founded, probably in 1930, by the émigré photographer Max Peter Haas (1901–1985).

    Word Count: 22

    Letterhead of European Picture Service, November 1938 (© Center for Creative Photography, Josef Breitenbach Archive, AG 90:4).
    Norman C. Lipton. “20 exciting years with a miniature.” Popular Photography, September 1949, pp. 46–47 (Photo: Helene Roth).Images by Max Peter Haas for European Picture Service on gunfight near 5th Avenue (Daily News, 15 January 1914, p. 123).Second article of Max Peter Haas for European Picture Service on gunfight near 5th Avenue (Daily News, 15 January 1914, p. 562).
    New York
    Modernage Photographic Services Inc
    Photo Lab

    Modernage Photographic Services was founded in 1944 by the German émigrés Ralph and Leuba Baum and specialised in photofinishing services. In 1954 a second branch, Modernage Custom Darkrooms, was opened.

    Word Count: 29

    Advertisement Modernage Photographic Services in The Norwalk Hour, 3 June 1969, p. 25.
    New York
    Service Photo Suppliers Inc.
    Photo Supplier

    Service Photo Suppliers was a photo supplier distributing a wide variety of photo equipment and opened by the German émigré Hans Salomon (1909–?) in 1945.

    Word Count: 23

    Logo of Service Photo Suppliers, Inc. (Popular Photography, December 1948, p. 231).
    Advertisement of Service Photo Suppliers, Inc. in Popular Photography, December 1948, p. 231.
    New York
    Photo Supplier

    Spiratone was a photo company and photo supplier founded in 1941 by the Austrian émigré family Hans (1888–1944) and Paula Spira (?–?) and their son Fred Spira (1924–2007).

    Word Count: 24

    Logo and address of Spiratone in Popular Photography, June 1947, p. 104.
    Advertisement in Minicam, vol. 5, no. 1, September 1941 p. 73; 84; 100Advertisement for Spiratone in Popular Photography, October 1949, p. 5.
    New York