7/16/2008

Mystery in My Closet.

Well one of the benefits of "clearing the clutter" of my closet has already appeared. I found a shopping bag full of old black and white photographs that a friend gave me years ago. Just WHY I have NO recollection of the images is bizarre. They are beautifully shot and well developed. The photographer must of been a war correspondent stationed in the South Pacific. There are photos of Hawaii, Japan, California, some Europe and New York City. I have over 200 of them. From what I can figure out the photographer's name is R.Raffius and was from New York. The only info I can find out thus far about him is that the The Calilfornia Museum of Photography has some of his work. I am showing you just a smattering. Also in the bag are beautiful vintage postcards from all over the world. Everything is in excellent condition. What an interesting life this guy had. If anyone out there knows anything about this photographer I would love to hear about it.OH Popeye!
Coney Island?
This looks like it is probrably Coney Island in either the late 1920's or early 1930's judging by the bathing suit styles and the straw boaters on some of the men. Would you think that anyone would go to a beach this crowded today?Is this a Volkswagon?"Don't forget your fez and keep your nose clean!"
This one was sent from Honolulu in 1934. There are a lot of photos of Hawaiian "natives" and surfers also. (And also Japanese geishas walking the streets of Tokyo!) Anyway the postcards are great, this is like a big puzzle. From what I have figured out so far, the addressee on the postcard, Edward Mels, was also a photographer as there is a smattering of his work in this bag too. He seemed to be taking photos up in Alaska.
Could this be the man, R. Raffius himself?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to a database of photographers. They have a list complete with picture for R. Raffius' known works. Most of them, untitled.
http://138.23.124.165/mainFrame/collections/col_res_list.lasso

Lisanne McT said...

Thanks anon! I tried the link though and do not have access. I am continuing to research so hopefully soon I can find out more.

Margaret Cloud said...

These are nice pictures and I hope you find out about them.

An Agent of Change said...

Beautiful pics, I enjoy the blog!

Tid Bit said...

Wow, that's incredible. What an exiting little mystery. I'm now contemplating cleaning out my own closet.

rhymeswithcori said...

What an incredible surprise in your closet!

Perhaps I should clean mine out...

Anonymous said...

WhAt?
I DONT KNOW ANY OF THIS!

The cup is half full of something I don't like said...

That's a beautiful collection (or sampling of collection).

Katia said...

Hi Lisanne,

Great Photos! Great Story.
Can't wait to see more.
You should try to contact the museum's curator.

Stephanie said...

wow! what an amazing find! i wish i had good finds like that in my messy closet... the only things i can see are 2 bird cages and some winter close. no vintage photography.

would you ever donate/lease/sell them to a museum?

Lisanne McT said...

Well Stephanie....Well considering we are less than a quarter of the way done who knows what else we will find. I have been a collector type since the teenage years which are quite a long time ago! There are shelves in this closet that i haven not touched in over ten years! THe top ones are a no mans land.

and yes i would like to keep some for myself but i am interested in selling them. I am quite the broke under employed blogger right now.

amarilla said...

That's a beautiful world of images you found in your closet. I don't know what earth appears in that first one, but it doesn't look like the one I live in. How much are you selling that for?

Lisanne McT said...

Amarilla, i don't think I could sell anythig to you, your beautiful blog is payment enough...

Justine said...

Oh my goodness those are BEAUTIFUL shots. Nice rediscovery!

Jest said...

Wow. Interesting photos. Your wordplay and the photos you've showed got me interested in this photographer. I'll see what I could come up with.

Rob K said...

Great discovery. I feel like a time traveler when I look at these photos.

Chandler said...

I am so jealous! Thanks for sharing this treasure. Will we see more?

Lisanne McT said...

I think i'll be putting some more up eventually, i even found a developing test strip of the Park Slope plane crash of 1960. (a plane crashed into a row of brownstones on 7th Ave!)

I'm still looking for ANY leads on this stuff, so far i've found out that he prob worked for Keystone images, they made photos for these viewmaster type devices...that's info i got from the museum.

jen said...

another thought, and i hope i'm not repeating anyone - have you checked with any Libraries - Library of Congress, for example - maybe you saw that they've been archiving their pics on Flickr?