Fred Spira 1924 - 2007

American; Austrian
born in:
Vienna, Wien, Austria

Siegfried Franz Spira born in Vienna; father a banker who latter owned the Photohaus Spira-Ritz; left Austria as part of Kindertransport in March 1939; left England for America in 1940; family started Spiratone Fine Grain Laboratories, a photo-processing business; after death of father Spira opened a store in New York in 1946 selling photographic equipment and accessories; Spiratone Inc. was one of the first companies to import Japanese camera equipment and lenses to the United States; Spira was a leader in the technological revolution in lens attachments, developing a variety of filters and lens accessories that added unusual and special effects to photographs, and was one of the most important suppliers of such attachments; Spira left Spiratone in 1987 (the company ceased trading in 1990s); Spira began collecting autographs relating to the history of photography in the 1960s progressing to collecting historic cameras; was involved in organising what became the American Photographic Historical Society; Spira Collection of some 20,000 items held at George Eastman House; wrote book 'The History of Photography As Seen Through The Spira Collection' in 2001; died 2007.