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Chester A. Gardner Photographs Lillian Atop New York’s Met Life Building On May 25 1936

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Chester A. Gardner lived in New Jersey and worked for the Ordinary Maturities Section of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company located at 24th Street and 4th Avenue in New York City in the 1930s.

We know this because Chester took lots of photographs of his coworkers at Met Life and his family and neighbors in New Jersey, and he typed meticulous notes on the backs of each photograph, detailing the sitters’ names, the date and location of the photo, and camera settings. His coworkers often signed the backs of their photos.

This obsessive documentation, along with Chester’s obvious skill at making his subjects at ease in front of the camera, makes his work treasured among vernacular photography collectors. I have a number of his photographs, including one of Chester himself taken by his coworker, Anthony M. Smith, but my favorites are ones he took of his coworker, Lillian.

The typed captions on the versos are identical, except for the camera settings.

 

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F.11 Lens in shade

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1. 1/25 Second F.11 Lens in sunlight

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F. 4.5 Lens in shade

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

/25 Second F. 4.5 Lens in shade

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

/25 Second F. 4.5 Lens in shade

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F. 4.5 Lens in shade

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F. 4.5 Lens in shade

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F. 4.5 Lens in shade

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F.11 Lens in sunlight

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F.11 Lens in sunlight

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F.11 Lens in sunlight

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F. 4.5 Lens in shade

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F. 4.5 Lens in shade

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F. 4.5 Lens in shade

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F. 4.5 Lens in shade

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

1/25 Second F.11 Lens in sunlight

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

Chester A. Gardner

Chester A. Gardner Metropolitan Life Insurance Company New York

 

 

  • njguy54

    Working in the “Ordinary Maturities” department sounds like the most depressing job in the world.

  • Fred Johansen

    4th avenue and 24th street does not exist anymore as 4th avenue was shortened many many years sgo.