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Service Photo Suppliers Inc.

  • Name:
    Service Photo Suppliers Inc.
  • Kind of Organisation:
    Photo Supplier
  • Introduction:

    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

  • Content:

    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

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

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

  • Signature Image:
    Logo of Service Photo Suppliers, Inc. (Popular Photography, December 1948, p. 231).
  • Media:
    Advertisement of Service Photo Suppliers, Inc. in Popular Photography, December 1948, p. 231.
  • Bibliography (selected):

    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

  • Archives and Sources:

    Word Count: 12

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

    Hans Salomon, Kurt Roberg

  • Metropolis:
    New York
  • Entry in process:
  • Helene Roth. "Service Photo Suppliers Inc.." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 03-03-2022.
  • 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
    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
    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
    Lisette Model

    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

    Hermann Landshoff, Die Fotografin Lisette Model, New York 1948 (© bpk / Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Fotografie / Archiv Landshoff).
    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).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's naturalisation papers. New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824–1946. Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1944 box 942, no 490001-490300 > image 702 of 1406; citing NARA microfilm publication M1972 (Family Research. © Southern District of New York Petitions for Naturalization, 1897–1944. Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685–2009, RG 21. National Archives at New York).Page with photos of the apartments at 55 Grove Street and 137 7th Avenue, published in Le Pommeré, 2010, pp. 58–59 (Photo: Helene Roth).
    New York
    Ellen Auerbach

    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

    Ellen Auerbach, Selbstportrait, cropped detail (Ellen Auerbach auf einer Liege sitzend, sich selbst im Spiegel fotografierend), New York 1950 (©Akademie der Künste, Berlin / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).
    Ellen Auerbach, Selbstportrait. (Ellen Auerbach auf einer Liege sitzend, sich selbst im Spiegel fotografierend), New York 1950 (©Akademie der Künste, Berlin / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).Cover of Life magazine, with image Two Years Old by Ellen Auerbach, Life, 28 November 1938 (Photo: Helene Roth).The dancer Renate Schottelius photographed by Ellen Auerbach ( "Ellen Auerbach - Robert Mann Gallery" by Erika_Herzog is licensed under CC BY 2.0).
    New York
    Rudy Burckhardt

    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

    Rudy Burckhardt, Selftportrait, New York 1937 (© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).
    Announcement for an exhibition by Rudy Burkhardt at the Photo League Gallery in Brooklyn Eagle, 30 September 1948, p. 18.Jaqueline Judge. “Rudi Burckhardt … photographer of everyday life.” Popular Photography, January 1949, pp. 52–53 (Photo: Helene Roth).Rudy Burckhardt, Portrait of the painter Willem de Kooning, New York 1937/38 (© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).Rudy Burckhardt, Building Front Detail with Acanthus Molding in Doorway, New York City, 1938 (© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021).
    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
    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
    JJK Copy-Art
    Photo LabPhoto StudioPhoto Supplier

    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

    Logo of JJK Copy-Art (Billboard, 26 January 1963, p. 50).
    Advertisement for JJK Copy-Art in Billboard, 26 January 1963, p. 50.Advertisement for JJK Copy-Art with slogan “We Deliver What We Advertise” (Billboard, 3 June 1950, p. 27).Advertisement for JJK Copy-Art with slogan “There Is No Business Than Show Business” (Billboard, 11 April 1953, p. 5)Apology announcement by James J. Kriegsmann in Billboard, 17 April 1943, p. 5Page from a magazine about the Cotton Club with a portrait of Bill Robertson by James J. Kriegsmann (Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, 1936) 2013.46.25.270a-e.
    New York