A Short Story About a Photo Album

Chop Suey.

I enjoy finding old photographs and photo albums at flea markets. There is just something about being able to enter the lives of the people in these photos, if only for that split second click of the shutter. Most of the photos I find are given a new life as they end up in my collage work. The more interesting of the finds go on the wall or in the “collection”. Last summer I purchased a photo album at a local outdoor market, which in itself is nothing unusual. However, this particular album belonged to a student of the New York Institute of Photography in 1921.

Last week, in another one of my many attempts to clean my studio, I was moving some materials and rediscovered the album. I stopped my cleaning task to once more take a peek at the photos inside. After turning page after page of various portraits in a variety of settings and lighting situations, I discovered that there was a last page in the album that I had previously overlooked. Perhaps the page had been “stuck”, or it may have been that I had glance through the album too quickly. Regardless, here on the album’s last page were four photos taken on an elevated railroad somewhere in New York.

I had just revisited the wonderful Highline in NYC a few weeks back as part of a West Liberty University art trip. I was excited to think that these new found images might be early photos of that vary location. Upon examining the photographs further, I believe that this particular elevated railway may have been in Long Island, NY, based on a building sign in one of the photos.

In one of the photos you can see part of a restaurant sign reading “Chop Suey”, not unlike the sign in the painting by artist Edward Hopper. In the painting are two fashionable women dining and a similar sign can be seen just outside the window. Probably just a coincidence, but fun to think that just maybe….

I have included details from two of the photos. One shows a sign reading “Dr. Rubin Dentist”. If you look closely, you will see Dr. Rubin working on a patient. The other detail is of the Long Island Bird Store, just because I think the signs are so great! (The photo gallery may take a minute to load. Enjoy!)


4 Responses to “A Short Story About a Photo Album”

  1. 1 var8rgrrl
    April 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Bob- Thanks for sharing! These pix are so evocative. Like you, I love old photos, especially if I don’t know their background and can make stuff up for myself. I even wrote a flash piece about them–

  2. 2 Aunt Edna
    September 6, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    These photos were taken in Brooklyn NY

  3. 3 Frank Rizzo
    October 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    These photos were taken in brooklyn, Flatbush Avenue & State Street. That is the Atlantic Avenue elevated train station

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