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Old Photos Illuminate Raleigh People, Events

Posted July 16, 2007
Updated July 17, 2007

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— The rediscovery of thousands of old photographs and film footage is helping Raleigh residents find long-lost relatives and see historical events.

Jay Denmark, the owner of Denmark Photography studios in Raleigh, recently opened a warehouse, in which he believed were stored negatives taken by his grandfather, Jim Denmark.

Jim took pictures of Raleigh people and landmarks between 1917 and 1965.

"I was thinking there was a couple boxes. When we got in there, come to find out there were probably 30 to 40 boxes from the floor to the ceiling," said Denmark.

Inside those boxes were more than 50,000 negatives, as well as some film.

"I love history. I love finding treasures. I knew we had something," said Denmark.

"Luckily, each negative had a name on it," but rather than try to track down each person, "we decided ... let them find us," said Denmark.

Denmark created a section on the web site of his studio, Denmark Photography Studio, on which visitors can search and preview photographs and film. Visitors can also print out photographs for a fee.

"My hope is that people will be able to find their ancestors and to further their research into genealogy and put pieces of the puzzle together with the help of these photos," said Denmark.

Along with helping people search for their ancestors, his grandfather's work "is an historical documentation of people that lived during that era," said Denmark.

The site also shows footage of events that Denmark's grandfather filmed, including the construction of the North Carolina State bell tower and Amelia Earhart's landing in Raleigh in 1936.

"My granddad was on the front row. He had the best seat in the house," said Denmark.

The significance of the discovery has not worn off on Denmark.

"It almost brings shivers to me when we're scanning these negatives and seeing these people. We know that they hadn't been seen in years," said Denmark.

15 Comments

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  • SportsPhotog.com Jul 17, 2007

    Jay,
    Nice job! I know you and Vince work a lot on this project and it shows. What a great opportunity to offer people a chance to purchase a piece of history. It's a rare discover and a credit to your grandfather for shooting and organizing all of those images.
    Take care,
    Bennett
    Bennett Scarborough
    SportsPhotog.com

  • cncanady Jul 17, 2007

    I am a genalogist and was so excited to hear about the picture find. Looked at your site last night and it is good and I surely remember most of those places. Found some of my relatives but your prices are way to high. I also do photography and these prices certainly will not help another genealogist. Again, site is great but prices HIGH!

  • Run_Forrest_Run Jul 17, 2007

    "yeah what a joke of a website. you can't see the pictures, only small prints, and RIDICULOUS prices for the photos!"

    The photographer did a nice job protecting his pictures, making them too small to copy and when they are enlarged - the watermark is there. Very Smart!!

    I love old pictures - especially of family members. $70.00 each is pricey - so guess I should be thankful that they are not pictures of my family. :)

  • Hevans1012 Jul 17, 2007

    $70 for a 5x7 that is crazy!!

  • smegma Jul 17, 2007

    yeah what a joke of a website. you can't see the pictures, only small prints, and RIDICULOUS prices for the photos!

  • shine Jul 17, 2007

    COOL!! SUPER COOL!!!

  • patriot 16 Jul 17, 2007

    Back when Raleigh was a nice place to live...

  • djofraleigh Jul 17, 2007

    I don't know anyone who is from Raleigh from that era. Everyone has moved her. I'm glad the pictures were saved.

  • CharliesImages Jul 16, 2007

    So the WRAL story is in reality free advertising for this business.

  • raleighpack Jul 16, 2007

    but dear lord those prices are RIDICULOUS

    i could understand maybe $5 - $20 per print but NOT HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS haha??!?!?!?!?!

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