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Itzik Chonovitz
PHOTOGRAPHER OF VILNIUS
 

YENTA AND GERSHON RADOVSKY
Vilnius, Lithuania
(then part of the Russian Empire)

bef 1883

 

** More Chonovitz Studio Photographs **


Ph. of unknown women

 taken between
1871-87

No signature at the bottom of the
photo mount.

Photography studio of
J. Chonovitz
at the Bolshaya ul. [str.]
in the house of
Count Tiesenhaus
in Vilna

Negatives saved.

This photo could be classified as a
"carte-de-visite" portrait of a size approximately
2.5 x 4. 5 inches.

Ph. of unknown man

taken between 1899-1906
or perhaps after

studio location:
house of Kotwicz;
typical of these types of imprinted backings are displays of the profiles of three of the founders of modern photography--Daguerre, Talbot
and Niepce.

"Photography studio
J. Chonovitz
Bolshaya ul.
House of Kotwicz
in Vilna

Negatives saved."
 

"Sophie Indurski"

 taken between 1899-1906
or perhaps after

Photography studio of
J. Chonovitz

studio location:
house of Kholem

"Against the house
of the district
military headquarters.
To do bigger portraits
for necessary results...

Negatives saved.

Enlargements of portraits to any size you desire."

"Chana Indurski
with her children
Isidore and Sophia"

cir 1906
or perhaps after

Photography studio of
J. Chonovitz

studio location:
house of Kholem

"Against the house
of the district
military headquarters.
To do bigger portraits
for necessary results...

Negatives saved.

Enlargements of portraits to any size you desire."
 

"Yehuda Hofstein"

taken in 1906 or later

Photographer
J. Chonowicza

studio location:
ul. Wielka,
house of Kholem;
(see inscription information below)

"They save negatives.
Makes pictures
in any weather."


The following is the known history of the studio photographer, Itzik Chonovitz, son of Judel, according to his applications for opening up various studios, and the Governor's permissions that were found in the historical archives of Vilnius:

--Itzik Chonovitz was from citizen caste and was of the Jewish faith.

--For two years he studied photography at the studio of Priwalsky.

--From 1871 to 1887 the studio of Chonovitz was located at Didzioji (Wielka, Большая) street in house of Prikaz (later in the house of Tiesenhaus, and after that in Syrkin's house.) This information was obtained from the Governor's permission no. 2653, issued on 21 Jul 1871.

--In 1887 the studio moved to Kotwicz's (and later to Gleser's) house on the same street (Governor's permission no. 5043, 14 Oct 1887), because of the poor lightning of the previous studio that was created after a new rear annex to the house was built.

--From September 1899 the studio was located in the house of the Kholem brothers on Didzioji street (from Governor's permission no. 9964, 13 Sep1899.)

--In 1908 the studio was still located in the same location. (Note: This is in contradiction to the street named Bol'shaya ul. mentioned on the backing to the 1906 photo pictured above.) The studio was still extant in 1933 (see below), though the location was unknown.

So we can see that Itzik moved his studio several times. Perhaps this was not uncommon. It is also possible that since the name of the studio seems to be "J. Chonovitz," the studio was owned my Judel, Itzik's father. Perhaps this is true, though there is no certain evidence of this one way or the other.

As to the different imprints of the various photographs, studios would change the design of the imprint on the back of the photo mount when they ordered new mounts for their studio. One can see the embellishments made to the last backing pictured above. This backing was created in 1906 or later and mentions the "gold medal" and  an "honorary diploma," no doubt in regards to the international (photographic) exposition that was held in Antwerp, Belgium in 1906. There is a medal/Maltese Cross that mentions the "Exposition D'Anvers 1906." (Anvers is the French name of the city; Antwerp is the Flemish.) There are images of the front and back of circular medals with inscriptions in both Russian and Polish. They mention King Leopold of Belgium; the flip side of each mention the International Exposition ?condm. Domestic, April-May 1906.

As is typical within so many of the imprints found on the reverse side of studio photographs, it is mentioned that the photographic negatives are kept or saved (in case further photographs are requested).
 

THE 1920s and 1930s

It seems that the J. Chonovitz studio was still extant in Vilnius until at least 1933. Perhaps Itzik Chonovitz was still the photographer then, or maybe another family member ran the studio or someone else took it over and kept the studio name.
 


 

Later Photographs taken by J. CHONOVITZ of Vilnius

Top left:
Sofia Kahan (Wirgili), Golde Lewi, Wita Lewin, Yehudit Rajzenberg, Baruch Lubolki, Rokhl Ajdelson, and others with children at an orphanage school, date unknown.

Top right: Children from an orphanage pose doing calisthenics in a courtyard, cir 1920s.

Bottom left: Outdoor portrait of pupils and teachers of the Frug school, part of the CEBEKA school system, 1933.
 


 

 

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