Although my grandfather developed his film from the Fair into negatives (the first step in turning film into photographs), he never printed the negatives into actual images due to the high cost of and wartime restrictions on the additional chemicals and papers needed to create prints. Instead, he filed the negatives away and went about his postwar life building his career and raising his four children with my grandmother in suburban New Jersey.
Fifty-five years later, in 1995, as he was cleaning out his things, he came across the World's Fair negatives along with several hundred more he had taken of steam locomotives throughout the 1930s. He gave all the negatives, plus a collection of vintage cameras and locomotive memorabilia, to his son—my father, Henry, who is also a railroad enthusiast and amateur photographer with a fully functioning darkroom.
My grandfather, who taught my father the art of film photography, emphasized to him the importance of developing film at all costs. "You can always print the negatives at a later time," he had said. As a surprise for my grandfather's eighty-first birthday in 1995, my father printed the remaining collection of 1939 World's Fair negatives and put it on exhibit at a New Jersey library with the title "Nite Sites." My grandfather was overcome.
Some of my fondest memories are my grandfather's coming of age stories in 1930s New York—stories that continue to color my experiences as a New Yorker today. This past February would have been my grandfather's 100th birthday. He died a month before 9/11 at the age of eighty-seven, but his images commemorate the experience of that time and the generational bonds forged over art, innovation, and our beloved city.
The station tells us Barry was on a motorcycle when a car made an illegal u-turn, hitting the motorcycle.
Watch the video to see the amazing release!
in pain and to aiding in his or her rehabilitation.”
– INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE, RELIEVING PAIN IN AMERICA, 2011
Remembering the Grand Spectacle of the 1939 World's Fair
All photographs were taken by Harold Webber and printed by Henry Webber. A selection of these photographs is now on view until October 11th
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