// FEBRUARY 5, 2014
// 5 ADAR I 5774
hile nowadays pictures of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson,
, are ubiqui-
tous, it may come as a surprise to some that there
was a time when such photos were rare, even in
Chabad circles, at the Rebbe’s clear behest. In fact, the Rebbe would deliberately cover his face when-
ever photographer Harry Trainer tried to take a picture of the Rebbe being
wedding—a fact he found exasperating.
Sitting in his home last week, Mr. Trainer dis-cussed how he played an integral role in making
pictures of chasidic Rebbes available to the public.
It all began with the difﬁculties he was having taking wedding photos that anyone would want
to buy.Harry Trainer’s career as a photographer began in 1940, when as a student at Yeshiva Torah Vodaath
in Brooklyn he won a camera in a rafﬂe. “I would go around the
taking pictures,” he said.
“It was a relatively new thing and no one minded.”Two years later he began doing it professionally.
In fact, he basically cornered the market for
weddings in the 1940s and ’50s. “In those days you had to use a lot of artiﬁcial light in order to take a picture indoors. They didn’t even invent a camera with a ﬂash mounted on it until the early 1940s, so in those years there were no pictures of indoor weddings. For
pictures, if you were more ‘modern’ you went with your ﬁancée and took pictures in a studio before the
ones would go to the studio
right after the
and then come back to the
wedding hall and get on with the show.”
When the ﬁrst ﬂash camera was invented, Mr. Trainer bought one for ﬁve and a half dollars. Shortly thereafter, he realized that he could make things a lot easier for the
and their families because there was no longer a need to rush out to a studio for pictures. His name
gradually spread, and pretty soon he was working almost every night.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe covers his face with his siddur as a photographer tries to take a picture.