[Editor’s note, by Susan Barlow: This yellowing newspaper page about Leon Fallot (1901-1987) was on the workbench
of the late photographer Sinch Ofiara, who admired Mr. Fallot. I have retyped the article and captions, two of which were
switched, and I have put them in the correct order at the end of the article.]
A landmark to recent Manchester history has retired to go fishing.
Leon G. Fallot opened The Fallot Studio at 70 East Center St. on April Fool’s Day in 1930. Despite the choice of the day, Fallot was nobody’s fool, and he ran a successful photographer’s studio from that day until he sold the studio to Norman R. Labbe of East Hartford a few weeks ago.
"Fishing is the only true way to relax," he said as his reason for retiring.
"If you count the chickens, there were about 600 living creatures in my tiny village of Vieux Charmont," he said.
When he was six, his parents brought him to Manchester where his father worked as a weaver with the Cheney Bros. silk mills. The town has been the family’s home ever since.
By avoiding the flicks and other luxuries for several years, Fallot saved enough to attend the New York Institute of Photography in 1922. After the eight-month course, he worked in studios in New York, New Britain and Hartford.
One of his jobs was in a theatrical studio where stars and would-be stars were his targets.
But Manchester kept drawing him back.
He left a Hartford studio in 1930 to go into business for himself here.
Most of his work has been portraits. Counting the Manchester High School yearbook pictures he took from 1932 to 1963 except for 1951, he said he must have taken pictures of half the town’s faces. He will not even guess at the number of portraits, although he has most of the negatives on file at the store.
Other work has included photographing stores, factories, and industrial products. Wedding, clubs and church groups also made up a large part of his work. Some of his most exciting jobs were done for The Herald and local police. He dragged his bulky cameras to car, truck and train accidents scenes until after WWII.
Carting the equipment around then was hard work. Today’s pocket-size cameras with tiny flash cubes or strobe lights were unknown.
"Leon Thorp (The Herald advertising director) and I once went to the Hockanum River in East Hartford. A truck had run over a bank," he said, recalling just one of many midnight accidents.
"We needed lots of flash powder. We wrapped it up in a newspaper. All the people around gave us a wide berth. Was it ever a boom!"
They got their picture.
He used glass plates and flash powder a good deal in the earlier days. Cut and roll film was available, but was inferior for many uses.
"My teacher at the Institute said he used to coat his glass plates the morning he took the pictures. I never had to do that, but photography when I first started was a heck of a lot harder than today," Fallot said.
"Mr. Fallot just loves people," according to his wife, Eugenie, the Hartford girl who married him Oct. 27, 1930.
They have three daughters and 14 grandchildren. The daughters are Mrs. Adele Allen, Mrs. Claire Case, and Mrs. Ann Clair.
The Fallots are making plans for a trip to Europe, possibly to see his native town.
In Vieux Charmont, Fallot may look like a typical American tourist with a camera. Photography is also his hobby and he plans to keep it up along with fishing.
For each of the images below, of which all but the bottom one were reproduced
from the newspaper itself, click it to see a larger view.