50 Years Recording the History of Pinellas
Ogg opened his first studio on Cleveland Street, between Greenwood Street and downtown.
“I was so far out of town,” he said, with a glint in his eye, “that the boys wouldn’t come to get pictures. If I did four portraits a week I was lucky. I finally moved Ogg Studios downtown to 807 Park Street and the first night I opened, I made 27 pictures. Those four blocks made all the difference.”
In the following half century, he took about 60,000 photographs, and not with 36 frames per roll in a self-winding camera. Each of those pictures was taken on the kind of clunky camera that sits on his sofa today, with individual 4- by 5-inch negatives that had to be inserted and then removed one at a time.
There was nothing he would not and did not photograph, from celebrities such as Babe Ruth to the “meanest cat I ever saw,” an animal that had won first prize at a celebrated English show. Two of his photographs were displayed at the World’s Fair in New York in 1939.
His photographs became even more popular after he married a young Swedish woman, Ruth, who colored his black-and-white pictures with oils. Although this art form all but disappeared with the advent of color photographs, it required great skill to produce results, and Ruth had a rare talent for it. Eastman considered her among the top ten oil colorists in the country.