Frank Oscar Larson, an unassuming banker by day, honed his photography craft on weekends, capturing the vibrant and diverse streets of New York in the 1950s. A first-generation Swedish immigrant who served in World War I, Larson was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and later lived with his family in Flushing. After serving in the War, he took a position with the Empire Trust Company, where he worked his way up to Vice President during his 40-year career at the bank.
Seeking reprieve from the 9 to 5 grind, Larson turned to his hobby of photography, capturing New Yorkers from the Bowery to Times Square to Central Park. It wasn’t until 45 years after his death that his family discovered a box of thousands of Frank’s negatives, revealing the extent of his talent and prolific work. According to his grandson, Soren Larson, “He wasn’t a mover and shaker; he was the kind of guy who worked at a bank. But he also was a frustrated artist; he needed an outlet to get away from all of that. He was an amateur violinist, he carved wood, but photography was something he was really good at.”
“When viewed over 60 years later, we still see ourselves in Larson’s work, even if New York has changed around us,” says Flushing Town Hall’s Director of Education and Public Programs, Gabrielle Hamilton, who curated the event with Richard Hourahan, Collections Manager for the Queens Historical Society. The opening lecture will be presented on Wednesday, June 28 at 6 PM by Soren Larson.
Soren is motivated to display his grandfather’s work because he wants the audience “to see how much he loved exploring New York and New Yorkers themselves. I want to show people that you can develop a love for something outside of your work, and it can become a defining aspect of your life.”
The opening reception is on Sunday, June 25 from 1 to 3 PM, and the exhibit is open on the weekends from Sunday, June 25 to Sunday, August 6. The exhibit is FREE, with a suggested donation of $5. Learn more at www.flushingtownhall.org or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.
Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. The Queens Historical Society is located at 14335 37th Avenue, Flushing, NY 11354.
This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the new “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.