Motivation from Unknown Photographers

Those with more than a casual interest in photography know about Adams, Bresson, Libeowitz & other widely recognized photographers. Their images & words have inspired me. However, these images, from unknown photographers, have also motivated me. Of the many old family photos I scanned, few had dates & fewer had names. They have prompted me to try to do a better job of documenting the images I take.


This may be one of the oldest images of The Bemus Point Stow Ferry. I can say with a high degree of certainty this was taken between 1917, the year my grandparents honeymooned & ‘27. The current Ferry was christened in ‘28. An unknown photographer documented a piece of history.  It began operation in 1811 & has seen the evolution of our society. I’ve watched it all my life & now I volunteer as a pilot on summer weekends.


The woman with the hat is my fathers mother Anna Schaefer Kuntz. The middle of the 3 younger women is Ethel Kuntz. I believe the other 2 are my aunts. I’m guessing one of dads other sisters took the pictures likely taken in the late 1940’s or early 50’s. I don’t think it was intended to document style but it does. The man on the other side of the fence is a compelling component. I have no idea why they are wearing tags.

03Kids on porch railing copy copy

Whoever the photog was knew classic portraiture or just got lucky. The sloping lines of the children’s heights parallel the roof-line & the support column anchors the frame. I’m almost certain the tallest is my mom at about 9 making it 1931. I wish I knew who the other kids were to share this image with their families. I do know the front porch this photo was taken on.


This is another example of the classic ascending heights. My mother-in-law, Jean Yoklic Benson, is the tallest one giving the camera her full attention. From head to toe all 5 brothers & sisters are unique. The subject is intended to be the group but the girl in the window steals my attention. I’m told the photog was a roaming man with a camera trying to make a living doing family photos. Circa 1930.

05Jean Yoklic

This wedding portrait of Jean Yoklic Benson & her husband Don is typical of the 40’s.  The original was OK but lacked balance of tones & details. This image had a large learning curve of both B/W & HDR. As my mother-in-law made wedding dresses for others I had to find a way to blend the train of her gown with their wonderful smiles. I knew B/W was challenging, but the experimenting to get this result was tremendous.

06 Baby.1.300

This is the oldest image from my family archive with a name. From late 1898 or early 1899 this is Anna B Parkhurst my mothers mother. I have debated about spending the time repairing the damage. The face is only slightly distorted & I see little added value to the image without the damage. As I worked on balancing the tones I realized I was working with light that was over 118 years old.


This is me & my father Delton. In so many ways he was a great example of how to live your life. We are visiting his mom, dad & sister on Feronia St. It isn’t Christmas because that is the corner where the tree always was. However, from the way I’m dressed it’s easy to see its wintertime. I always loved that TV.

08 Philepina&Gottlieb Glausser father adolph copy

Meet Philepina & Gotlieb Glausser my great-great grandparents. This is likely the oldest image I have but I have no clues as to the date or location. Their crossed arms tell me they were a strong pair. I have no documentation but this is the duo that came from Germany sometime around 1880. Does the mustache look familiar to anyone? I think I got my thick hair from my mom’s side of the family. I’m glad they chose to name me Jay instead of either of the elder males on my moms side.

10 Pre Casino UNK subjectstweaked

This image was taken between 1917 & ‘30 before the Bemus Casino was built. The boat is a rental from Norton’s Boat Livery. I am grateful I have photographs of family & friends at Chautauqua. However, it is disappointing nobody documented the identity of these people. Few of the 100’s of images I have indicate the date & only a few have any names. If you’ve read to this point please begin documenting your own personal photos of family & friend. You kids, grand kids & great-great grandchildren will thank you.

11 Millvinia 1936 copy

Tomorrow, I could walk to the exact spot where this photo was taken. This is my mother Mellvinia Glausser at age 14. She is sitting in the front yard of the lakeside cottage her parents rented. As I begin my family’s 2nd century on the shores of Lake Chautauqua the photos instill a sense of gratitude, humility & connectivity to those that came before me.

Author: Connecting camera & mind.

Retired and transitioning to the next phase of life.

9 thoughts on “Motivation from Unknown Photographers”

  1. Hi Jay, Loved the pictures. Maybe we can use some of them for the booklet. You are so right about identifying pictures and dates. It is of inestimable value to the descendant or descendants who will be interested. We are thawing and freezing, but so far, knock wood, it has not been to bad here. Best, Lori


  2. Great post! I shared with Leo, who also enjoys photos and history. If possible, I’d love to get copies of a few of these for my new apartment. Not sure good the quality would be since they’d be twice removed from the original, but let me know what you think

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. Great post Gotlieb! You look just like him! I’ve scanned my mom’s old photos with no names and posted on a family-only group page on Facebook. That way scattered cousins can look and see if they know who those people are. Sometimes it works and we find out names of long lost family and friends. But mostly it doesn’t cause the people who knew are no longer with us.
    I love the one of the 5 children on the roof line. But why are they up there? And the little toy boat in the corner is priceless.


  4. Enjoyed seeing a picture of my great grandparents. As I have none of Gotlieb and only one of Phillipina when she was older with family. I remember going to her house as a child with my father Grant Glausser.


    1. Suzanne If you want a digital copy that is of decent quality let me know your email address and via drop box I can get it to you. Also I’d enjoy any info about your immediate family or ancestral information. I have little knowledge of most of the Glausser family. Something in my mind says that Grant lived in Mt. Lebanon on Beverley Road.


      1. Hi, I’m Suzanne’s sister. Our parents did live on Beverly Rd. My dad died 20 years ago. Did you know him?

        I have only vague memories of Philopena, as she died when I was 5. But we often used to visit her children who remained in Belzhoover until the 1980s – Helen, Alice, Herbie and his wife Clara. I have lots of genealogical info and even visited Philopena’s birthplace, Hinterweidenthal, Germany, in 2010. I still live in Pittsburgh. If you would like the info, email me at


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