Tonawanda News

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January 29, 2013

Former wedding photographer looking for subjects of unidentified portraits

BUFFALO — The Buffalo History Museum has a bit of a mystery on its hands, and they’d like Western New Yorkers to help solve it.

Actually, there are about 50 mysteries, says former wedding photographer Ettore Porreca, of Ettore-Winter Photography Studio.

As part of the museum’s one-day “Something Old, Something New” wedding exhibit and fundraiser March 3, approximately 50 pre-bridal portraits taken by Porreca will be on display. Porreca, who’s in his 90s, said he took the photographs between the 1950s and 1970s and wants to give them to the subjects because he has no use for them any longer.

There’s only one problem: There are no names on the portraits.

“That is going to be a feat and a half for us because we don’t know who these people are,” said Constance Caldwell, director of communications & community management at the museum.

Porreca said he offered to allow the museum to display the photos for the upcoming wedding-themed exhibit, but expressed his interest in finding the rightful owners while they are at it.

“There’s no reason for me to keep them so I thought they would do some good for the families, at least,” he said.

The 16-by-20-inch photographs came about through a symbiotic relationship the studio had with a well-known and exclusive dress shop, Tegler’s, located on Delaware Avenue.

He had shot one young bride’s pre-bridal portrait a few weeks before her wedding for an announcement in the Courier Express. She took her portrait to show the owner of the dress shop, Phyllis Tegler, who asked to have a copy to hang in the shop.

“Phyllis (later) called and said ‘Anytime you get one of the girls that purchased her gown from us, if you will make a print for us to put up on our wall, we’ll be glad to do that.’ “ Porreca recalled. “So we did.”

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