Another Frame Job


A few weeks ago, if you remember, I spoke at film fest, Bruce Noir, down in Asbury Park. It was on the influence film noir had on the songs of Bruce Springsteen. My hook was that a number of my Jersey Noir images are influenced by not only film noir but Springsteen as well, so it was a perfect fit.

It was a great time and I was honored to be part of it. It’s not like I’m doing these speaking gigs all the time, either. I also thought the poster The Showroom Cinema put together for the event as pretty cool. So I thought I’d commemorate the occasion by getting the poster, along with a local newspaper clipping about the event that mentions me (calls me an artist, heh!) framed as a keepsake.

I decided to take it to a local camera and frame shop in New Brunswick, George Street Camera. The shop’s owner, Greg Ritter, is a very interesting guy, and is really into both of his crafts – cameras and framing.

I first met Greg a few years ago when I bought a new camera bag in his shop prior to heading to Russia and India. He has Irish roots and likes to say that he’s been to Ireland more times than he’s been to New York City, a short train ride away from New Brunswick. He’s even been the New Brunswick envoy to Limerick, Ireland, as they became sister cities.

I re-met him a last month when I took some photos that David Burnett shot of our CEO in to be framed.


Besides his craftsmanship, what struck me about Greg was how embedded he is to the local New Brunswick art community. He came to New Brunswick in 1971 and opened his camera shop in 1979. For a long time now, he’s been a very active participant in the New Brunswick art, sculpture and cultural scene and really enjoys it all.

When I took this project to him, I knew the it would be in good hands. We took about 10-15 minutes selecting the right frame for the job. He explained how he’ll laminate the newspaper story and the glass that will be used. Custom framing isn’t cheap and this is quite the splurge for me.

As we talked, I knew I wanted to do some portraits of him in his framing environment, at work so to speak. So when I went to pick the project up, I told him what I wanted. He was more than into it, so we produced a few images I like.

Most of all, I do like the finished project:


Before I left, though, I had a couple of other shots I wanted. One of Greg’s passions is collecting old cameras. Some he offers for sale, but many are just on display in his shop. Not just old Brownie box cameras, like really old and unique ones as well.

When I stopped by, he showed me a very unique one.

(c)JerseyStyle_Photography_Burke & James tag_092013_2427

Greg had just acquired a Burke & James 8×10 view camera. Burke & James Inc. was a camera manufacturer from Chicago, Illinois, operating from the late 1800’s to 1970. No darkcloth (it may have been in the luggage-looking case) but had a nifty brass lens cap. It was sitting, it’s red bellow fully, extended on a work bench.

I could just tell he was proud of this camera, and he asked if I could take a portrait of him with it.



He had also acquired a new (well old, but you know what I mean) Speed Grafex and a very sweet, though cranky Mamiya RB67.

It was fun chatting with Greg and picking up my project. He did a great job. Very soon, a new business will be opening up across the street from George Street Camera.

I think I owe him a cold one.

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2013


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