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John F. Lessels Group Portrait

Historic Photographs
David Oswald
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Historic Photographs Details
This group portrait of three women was taken by John Fraser Lessels. He styled himself "The Photo King" and is so credited on the back of this postcard photograph. The postcard is addressed to "Miss Jeannie Robb, 124 Union Street, Aberdeen."

Lessels had a bold approach to promotion. An advert in the Aberdeen Daily Journal from 1908 reads "SALVATION for 6d, Cabinet Size. Get saved now. Lessels, Photo King, 64 St Nicholas Street."

Lessels was born in Aberdeen in 1878 and married a cousin called Faith Duncan in 1907. The Photo King had studios throughout Aberdeen, his main office being at 15 Crown Street, and a number of premises in Edinburgh and Angus. Faith Duncan worked as a photographer's assistant and Lessels' also had a sister who was a photographer but who sadly died aged 25.

As a life-long pacifist he and his family moved to Dublin to avoid conscription in World War I and worked with the Lafayette photographic studio. Lessels later moved to Bangor in Northern Ireland where he is understood to have had a difficult time and appears to have suffered a mental breakdown and incarceration. One of his sons, Maurice Lessels, ran a photographic studio in Lisburn, County Antrim for many years. (Many thanks to Ian McDonald for his research into this Aberdeen photographer).
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