By Lynne T. Jewell
The story behind a photo can be a telling thread to the past.
Over the years, the LFIA photo archivists have collected hundreds of photos from our community, which has generated an array of images—from festive family gatherings to military personnel who have served our country to high school graduations and proms.
“Every photo generally has some significance because it represents a moment in someone’s life,” said Marian Dodge, co-chair of LFIA’s History Committee. “Details in photos can be a clue, like a street number that helps identify a house or an automobile that can provide a year the photo might have been taken.”
Since 1998, LFIA has held annual Photo Days, some themed, when residents bring in their photos to be scanned for the LFIA Photo Archives which now boasts over 500 images. “We love hearing that special story behind the photo,” Dodge commented.
And, there are many telltale stories. Dr. Judy Bogen Rosener, who went to John Marshall High School in the 1940’s, donated a prom photo of students dancing. During an oral history interview, Dr. Rosener told LFIA that seen in the photo’s background are actual black-out curtains that were used in the gym during World War II.
The first LFIA Photo Day was held in conjunction with the JMHS Alumni Association reunion. Marshall alums have been generous contributors and their input has been invaluable. For instance, after a photo of an unnamed homecoming queen was published, Virginia Goodwin Castaneda chimed in via email to say that she was the person pictured and that Howard K. Watkins was the student photographer of the 1965 photograph.
At one Photo Day, Greta Gonzalez brought in photos of people picnicking in Griffith Park that she had found in the garage of her newly purchased house. Several of those photos are now displayed in the Autry Museum’s Crossroads West Café.
Nina Mohi contributed piles of photographs of her activities as an LFIA board member during the 1990s. One shows volunteers dressed in white overalls painting out graffiti during a LFIA-sponsored Beautification Day.
Among the most popular themed Photo Days was “A Salute to Veterans” which produced photos of local soldiers who served in combat from WWII to the more recent Middle East conflicts. “We’re always looking to add to our collection of both men and women military veterans from Los Feliz,” stated Dodge.
“People sometimes ask if we’d be interested in a photo. The answer is always a definitive ‘yes.’ You never know the value of something depicted in the picture that can provide clues to our past,” said photo detective Dodge. “We’re so grateful to those who have donated their photos allowing us to preserve the history of Los Feliz.”
The next LFIA Photo Day will be held in November of 2020 at the Los Feliz Library. In the meantime, scanned images can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The LFIA Historic Photo Archives may be viewed online at lfia.org.
This article was originally published in the Los Feliz Ledger on November 27, 2019.