Updated 03/05/2012 05:30 AM
Decades Later, Queens Photographer's Vision Comes Into View
An amateur photographer's work is being placed in the spotlight decades after his death. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
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He was a banker by trade and a photographer by passion. More than 45 years since his death, Frank Oscar Larson is re-emerging as an artist of museum quality after his family recently found a box of his negatives.
"They thought they would be family photographs or something but what they found was a real treasure trove of amazing street photographs from New York City n the 1950s," said Queens Museum of Art Executive Director Tom Finkelpearl.
From the more than 2,000 negatives, 65 were printed and are now on view at the Queens Museum of Art. A keen observer of the city, Larson captured the everyday and the everyman, giving many a window into city life as it once was.
"The artist, he had a really great vision, it was almost solitary, sort of melancholy, soulful vision of the city," Finkelpearl said.
Among the images on display: Hell's Kitchen in 1953, Kissena Park in 1954, and four kids playing in Williamsburg in 1959.
"Just that emblematic moment, like how did he find those kids in that particular moment in that composition, it's just amazing, chance mixed with skill," Finkelpearl noted.
Born in Brooklyn, Larson, a World War I vet, lived most of his life in Queens. Bitten by the shutterbug, the father of two would develop his craft over decades as he left his Flushing home to discover places like Times Square, Chinatown and Midtown with a professional lens.
"He was really technically a very professional artist. He looked at the composition, the textures, the reflections," Finkelpearl said.
Frank Larson carefully labeled each of the negatives with subject, date and location so there was very little confusion.
"I think he had some sense that somebody in the future might want to know that," Finkelpearl said.
Larson's photographs are on view through May 20.
For more information, visit www.queensmuseum.org.