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Service Photo Suppliers Inc.

  • 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.
  • 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

  • Few details on the life and shop of Hans Salomon are known today. He was born in 1909 in Celle, the son of Hanny (1880–1942) and Oskar Salomon (1878–1942) and had a twin sister, Grete (1909–?), and an older brother, Gerhard (1907–?). From 1932, his parents had a shop selling outerwear and shoes and Hans Salomon was the owner of the Hasall men’s fashion store at Poststrasse 4 in Celle. Hans Salomon was arrested on 10 November 1938 and taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, but fortunately was released in December 1938 after undertaking to leave Germany immediately. Since waiting for an American entry visa would have taken too long, he and his wife Berta (1910–2003) decided to emigrate to Shanghai first and wait there for American exit visas. In February 1939, Hans and Berta Salomon and their daughter Ingeborg (1934–2018) left Germany. They took a passage via Genoa to Shanghai, from where they were able to emigrate to New York in 1940 (Strebel 2020, 9).

    Through a few articles and the memoirs of the German émigré Kurt Roberg, it is known that Hans Salomon and his family lived in an apartment in the Bronx and that he initially worked at Klein’s department store in Union Square, which offered jobs to new arrivals, but quickly developed a sideline business with a prescription drugs wholesaler (Roberg 2009, 200). Later, probably in 1945, Hans Salomon opened Service Photo Suppliers, his photo equipment shop, at 151 West 19th Street in Chelsea (Roberg 2009, 255). His photo equipment shop can be seen in the network of other photo service suppliers founded by émigrés as Leco, Modernage Photographic Service, Pavelle Laboratories, Spiratone and JJK Copy-Art. The location in Chelsea was close to studio-appartments of émigrés photographers as Lisette Model, Rudy Burckhardt and Ellen Auerbach.

    Kurt Roberg (born 1924) knew Salomon from when he lived in Celle. Salomon had been a friend of his father Victor Roberg and the two were deported together to Sachsenhausen. From 1947 until 1957 Kurt Roberg worked at Service Photo Suppliers in a variety of positions: first, as credit manager and later as sales manager. In 1949 he opened Karo-Company, which specialised in the finishing of prefabricated slide frames.
    In 1952 Salomon and Roberg returned to Germany for the first time, on a two-month business trip. They explored the European photographic market, visiting a photographic trade show in Paris and the photokina in Cologne. After their return to New York, they began importing German camera systems and lenses.
    In July 1953 Kurt Roberg went on a business trip to Central and South America to drum up markets for this new export line, visiting Puerto Rico, Caracas, Curacao, Maracaibo, Colombia, Bogotá, Medellin, Baranquilla, Panama, Havana, San Juan, Costa Rica, Honduras, and El Salvador. He recorded his encounters with a three-dimensional stereo camera as well as colour slides using a Contax camera. Over the following years, making three trips a year, he explored new business opportunities in Latin America. On his first trip he met the German émigré Connie Altman in Caracas, where she was working as a nurse. After subsequent visits, the two became a couple and in 1956 she emigrated to New York, where they married in 1957. In 1958 Kurt Roberg left Photo Service Suppliers.

    Service Photo Suppliers wholesale sold a wide variety of photographic equipment of both foreign and domestic manufacture. From 1947, they offered two new types of flash, which developed into successful products. At $7, they were affordable and could be used with camera models such as Kodak, Ansco and the Brownie Reflex. Both flashguns were used with batteries and base bulbs (Morris 1947, 20).

    Word Count: 576

  • 151 West 19th Street, Chelsea, New York (1945–1961).

  • 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.
  • Heimat und Exil. Emigration der deutschen Juden nach 1933, exh. cat. Jüdisches Museum Berlin / Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Berlin, 2006.

    Morris, Robert. “Camera Clubs.” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 3 August 1947, p. 20.

    Roberg, Kurt. A Visa or our Life! A boy’s life and the odyssey of his escape from Nazi Germany. AuthorHouse, 2009.

    Strebel, Bernhard. “Nachgutachten über Peter Weise.” (30 November 2010) Stadt Celle. Accessed 25 February 2021.

    Word Count: 63

  • Helene Roth
  • 1945
  • 1961
  • Hans Salomon, Kurt Roberg

  • New York
  • No
  • Helene Roth. "Service Photo Suppliers Inc.." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 03-03-2022.
  • 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

    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

    Photo Supplier
    New York

    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

    Lisette Model
    New York

    Lisette Model was an Austrian-born photographer who lived in New York with her husband Evsa Model after emigrating from France. Her street photographs capturing the curiosities of everyday life quickly caught the interest of museums and magazines.

    Word Count: 37

    Ellen Auerbach
    New York

    When she arrived in New York in 1937, the German-born photographer Ellen Auerbach (formerly Rosenberg) had already passed through exile stations in Palestine and Great Britain.

    Word Count: 25

    Rudy Burckhardt
    New York

    Rudy Burckhardt was a Swiss-born photographer, filmmaker and painter who emigrated from Basle to New York City in 1935. He was well networked within the emerging Abstract Expressionist art scene of 1940s' and 50s'.

    Word Count: 33

    Leco Photo Service
    Photo Lab
    New York

    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

    Modernage Photographic Services Inc
    Photo Lab
    New York

    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

    JJK Copy-Art
    Photo LabPhoto StudioPhoto Supplier
    New York

    JJK Copy-Art was a photo studio and photofinishing service founded in 1929 by the Jewish Austrian émigré James J. Kriegsmann (1909–1994) and was located at 165 West 46th Street.

    Word Count: 26