sharpeworld > Collections

carleen fredricks

jimmy dockett unknown band unknown band andreas modinos andreas modinos michaels and scott jimmy dockett michels and scott uknown geraldine vega geraldine vega fat cat starshine the indigos hawkins rd. the steamboat springs band unknown actor type unknown actor type unknown actor type unknown actor type

this collection comes from a heap of discarded photographs, found in a venice alleyway by my friend, mike lee. i was on vacation in cape cod when he called, asking if he should rescue them. he thought i'd be the only person he knows that'd be interested in them. other neighbors had looked through and passed, but mike's descriptions of the early 70s rock bands and buggy eyed entertainers unleashed an anxiousness in me,. i told him to save as many of the photos as he could.

i had no idea how large the collection would be, until i looked into the back seat of mike's 1963 citroen, where he'd piled stacks, that we then moved armloads of. it took us about three 5 hour sittings just to look through what was there.

the best of the collection now sits smelling musty and shedding all over my desk. most of the photos are in scribbled on manilla envelopes that look like they were printed in world war 1. the account numbers, job names, and retouching comments are often written in grease pencil. there are 8x10 negatives with band logos taped on, and as a result, the photos have become sticky and unwieldy. the whole thing is a bit of a mess.

as we looked through image after image, we wondered who had been the person behind this meticulously kept body of work that had now been thrown out? had somebody died? was somebody needing to free up some space? was this collection someone's burden? was it one photographer's work we were looking at?

most of the photos in the collection are marked by a signature stamp in the lower corner, saying "james j. kriegsmann." google immediately yielded the basics... as it turns out, james j. kriegsmann is one of the most famous publicity
photographers of the 20th century. his images of frank sinatra and louis armstrong are iconic. he was known for being particularly good with touching up photos to make people look great -- especially black musicians who had never before been so artfully lit. in this collection, you can see his markings for retouching, which were often there to make men's suits look less frumpy, make women look thinner, and sometimes, just to simplify an image for the sake of greater visual clarity. it doesn't take long to see the depth of kriegsmann's artistry in this collection, which seems particularly clear in this collection, thanks to the absence of fame and historic "importance" of his subjects.

kriegsmann got his start as the cotton club's first "house photographer," and from there, went on to build one of the greatest headshot empires of the 20th century. the other great headshot pioneer of the century, maurice seymour, is also represented in this collection. seymour was best known for his elegant photographs of ballet dancers, which he successfully published. however, he made his real money shooting portraits of entertainers, mostly strippers, in his studio.

although both photographers took some of the 20th century's most iconoic entertainment photos, this discarded collection represents the dregs of their careers winding down into the twilight hours.

i have posted this collection with the hopes of gathering more information about kriegsmann, the people in these photos, and PARTICULARLY their music. i have a theory as to who threw these photos out and will possibly investigate that further. already, a few people have posted information about these photos. please contribute if you can!

thanks,
sharpeworld

UPDATE:
Listen to the NPR story about this collection here:
www.npr.org/templates/story/st ory.php?storyId=15772871

178 photos | 64,619 views



Comments on this set

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twistedtigger says:

this set is awesome. a very interesting project that fell into your hands.
Posted 114 months ago. ( permalink )

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seamusiv says:

These are unbelievably awesome. The folks at Found Magazine would literally crap their pants. I am writing down every artist and keeping the list in my pocket for second record stores, swap meets, and garage sales. Thanks for sharing.
Posted 114 months ago. ( permalink )

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a.tangerine says:

Found this wonderful "found" collection through a MetaFilter link.

I love these photos as well as your background info on the photographer,
James J. Kriegsmann.
The first house photographer of the Cotton Club? Cool.

Thank you so much for the work involved in order to display them here.
Posted 114 months ago. ( permalink )

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sharpeworld says:

james j. kriegsmann's new york times obituary.
Posted 114 months ago. ( permalink )

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C-Monster says:

damn. this set is totally sweet. thanks for rescuing!
Posted 114 months ago. ( permalink )

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ptufts says:

One of the things I love about this set is the incredibly broad range of acceptable styles among presumably mainstream acts. You would never see this much variation today. It makes me realize how constrained mainstream fashion has been for most of my life.
Posted 114 months ago. ( permalink )

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neshachan says:

Thank you for sharing these!
Posted 114 months ago. ( permalink )

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carrie de azevedo says:

What a fantastic collection! Glad it could be shared with the world.
Posted 114 months ago. ( permalink )

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samatriX.digitaL says:

This collection is fascinating on so many different levels. Thank you for seeing its value and putting your time and research into it. Nice job.
Posted 112 months ago. ( permalink )

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Daniel Lynch 2 says:

Didn't like that.
Posted 111 months ago. ( permalink )

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Daniel Lynch 2 says:

Didn't like that.
Posted 111 months ago. ( permalink )

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Daniel Lynch 2 says:

Didn't like that.
Posted 111 months ago. ( permalink )

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Daniel Lynch 2 says:

Didn't like that.
Posted 111 months ago. ( permalink )

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Daniel Lynch 2 says:

Didn't like that.
Posted 111 months ago. ( permalink )

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Daniel Lynch 2 says:

Didn't like that.
Posted 111 months ago. ( permalink )

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fortinbras says:

This is really super, what you have done.
Posted 109 months ago. ( permalink )

slashdotting sexy girls [deleted] says:

What an amazing project, and such an excellent set of photos!
Posted 108 months ago. ( permalink )

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Doc Holly says:

I had a friend who's band was photographed by Kriegsmann--Nick Apollo Diversified. Nikky was in a Woody Allen movie, from CT.. very much a 70's Lounge band. I met them in 70's. Nick, Tony and Ralph.
Posted 104 months ago. ( permalink )

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andrealeighquattro says:

i recently bought a photo in toronto taken by kriegsmann of a woman from the 50's. She has written and signed her name on the photo which i cant make out and i dont recognize her. maybe you could help me out?
im very curious to know who this mystery lady is.
she may be famous or she may be someone who just wanted a nice picture. i'd love to find out.
Posted 103 months ago. ( permalink )

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Michael Lydon says:

So great that James Kriegsman's photos are remembered and treasured. I had loved his photos for many years, then in 1989 I went to his studio in the basemnt of the Actor's Equity Building in NYC. James Senior was then semi-retired and his son James Junior took my picture for a glossy. But James Senior had many good ideas and was a true gentleman and artist. I had chance to tell him how much I admired his work. One thing he said when I was making my selection from proofs was, "I always for a softness in the eyes," meaning, I thought, an openness and warmth, and true enough, in Kriegsman photossyou feel you are seeing into the person, not just their surface. Thaanks for presenting his photos so well!
Posted 101 months ago. ( permalink )

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lars nyc says:

Love the story. It is amazing what happens to people's art when they are not in the spotlight anymore.
Two years ago a friend of mine stumbled upon a huge dumbster on Lafayette street in New York, where he saw a couple of canvases sticking out. He decided to go in and found a dumbster filled with the life's work of an artist who happened to have been hospitalized for mental reasons and who couldn't take care of his apt anymore, including all the art that was stuffed in there. So when it was time to kick him out the landlord threw everything away, since no one clamed his possesions and he wasn't able to do it either.
Posted 101 months ago. ( permalink )

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TBAInc says:

The unknown band top left is: The Indigos Band of Boston, Mass. If you need to contact me, email to: teens4better@hotmail.com

V. Wilkins
Posted 99 months ago. ( permalink )

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Miss Sockmonkey says:

Amazing!
Posted 96 months ago. ( permalink )

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The DLC says:

Have you considered trying to locate an archives for the originals? It's amazing what trained conservators can do.

Thanks for making these photos available- fascinating stuff!
Posted 95 months ago. ( permalink )

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Joey Harrison says:

This is a project that could take over your life, but have you considered opening a Kriegsmann-only flickr account and uploading the entire haul?
Posted 94 months ago. ( permalink )

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The Yancey says:

I'm glad to find this. A couple of decades ago a weepy guy in a bar gave me a framed Kriegsmann picture of a twins act called "The Calvert Sisters." It was signed by them and addressed to "Scotty" and dated 6-2-76. I've always wondered the story behind these two gals and this guy.
Posted 93 months ago. ( permalink )

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littlejoycec says:

I was in a band in the late 70's, and we were sent to Kriegsmann by our agent for professional photos. I wish we were in the ones here! HA. The name of our band was "Wisper", two girls and four guys, a Top 40 band, and I remember the whole experience was surreal. I love this story about the pictures and the dumpster!
Posted 90 months ago. ( permalink )

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mike nicolson says:

Fuel for a thousand David Lynch films.
Posted 69 months ago. ( permalink )

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katmerc says:

The picture of the band posing with the ladder is very interesting to me. My brother is the guitar player. They were called The Bedfords and were a very popular 70's band on the east coast. All the musicians were from New Bedford, MA. They were very talented and the drummer became the drummer for the group Tavares.
Posted 66 months ago. ( permalink )

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mamakiki49 says:

I would like to know where you got the photo of nbuda funkshun. i was present when the photo was taken 32 years ago. i had a son by the bass player Thomas D. Lewis. i have not seen him in 32 years. i would like to know if anyone knows where they are or where he is. if so please contact Ms. Kiki Edwards (nee) Hunter you can e-mail me at: mamakiki49@yahoo.com. Thanks.
Posted 65 months ago. ( permalink )

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CultuurNet Vlaanderen says:

I just discovered this set of photgraphs, fantastic you saved the images, they are so interesting
and show a certain 'epoque', the photographer had his own style, it is nice to be able to see a serie of his work,
Thanks,
Posted 53 months ago. ( permalink )

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nancybzz says:

Guy Zummo passed away in Scottsdale, Arizona after a brief illness on January 13, 2013. He lived in South Beach, Miami after he retired. He is buried in St. Francis cemetery in Scottsdale next to his mother and father. His pictures, music and movie live on his web page www.guyzummo.com

Nancybzz@gmail.com
Posted 30 months ago. ( permalink )

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