Frank Oscar Larson – Street photographer from 1950s NYC recently discovered

May 14, 2011

A couple of months ago I wrote a blog post about the recently discovered but sadly deceased street photographer Vivian Maier (1926-2009).  Vivian Maier spent most of her life working as a nanny but spent almost 40 years beginning in the 1950s photographing Chicago during her free time.  Her huge body of work was never displayed and was unknown until being discovered after her death.  You can read a little more about her here.

Well it turns out that another wonderful street photographer has recently been discovered after his death and from what we know so far this is an equally fascinating story.  According to the information available on The Perfect Exposure Gallery website (who are currently exhibiting some of the work)  Frank Oscar Larson (1896-1964) lived and worked in Queens NTC in the 1950s and was passionate about street photography.  Like Vivian Maier he spent much of his free time wandering around the city with his Rolleiflex camera taking shots of anything that caught his eye, visiting locations such as Chinatown, Hell’s Kitchen, Times Square & Central Park.  Frank developed and printed his own film but much of the work was never seen by anyone other than him.  Sadly Larson died in 1968 and his work would remain undiscovered until a box of negatives would be discovered some 45 years later.

I have to say that I find this work absolutely fascinating.  There is something incredibly compelling about images taken from a completely different era, especially candid shots like this rather than the iconic celebrity and landscape shots we are more used to seeing.

Here are a few examples of his work (more of the work can be seen by following the links below):

All images © Frank Oscar Larson

An exhibition entitled “Reflections of New York” featuring the work of Frank Oscar Larson has just ended at the Perfect Exposure Gallery in LA.  The information is still available on the gallery website as well as lots more examples of his work.  I would urge you to take a look while it is still available.

Frank Oscar Larson’s website

Information about the “Reflections of New York” exhibition

Examples of Frank Oscar Larson’s work

Happy shooting!

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About the author

UK based photographer Mark J P.