Freotopia > people > Abraham Orloff

Izzy Orloff — photographer

Working in the Censor's Office, SLWA 112264PD.

Abraham Orloff (1891-1983) known as Izzy, was a photographer who worked in Fremantle.
He was born in Ukraine in 1891. His family left there in 1903, first for Palestine, and then to Fremantle (arriving 13 January 1912), where he worked as a carriage-maker (in Claremont) and then a peddler.
During the first War he worked in Intelligence as a translator, from Russian and German. As soon as he could, he left for Paris, where his sister was a sculptor, and trained as a photographer. Back in Fremantle, he had studios at 133 High St, in the Manning Buildings, and then 155, in one of the buildings which no longer exist east of the Town Hall.
He was a Freemason, a founder of the Caledonian Lodge, and was active in the assistance of migrants, meeting ships and helping people with advice in seven languages. He retired in 1960.

Izzy Orloff at Rottnest with puppies, 1919, SLWA 112193D >

Abraham (‘Izzy’) Orloff was born in 1891 in Ukraine, Russia. The youngest of nine children. He migrated to Western Australia in 1912, and found employment building coaches and sulkies, as a pedlar, and then canvassing for photographic enlargements. Between 1917-19 he worked for the Australian Military in the local Censorship Office, translating letters from Russian, Yiddish and German.
After a short stint in Paris as a photographer Orloff returned to Perth and began work at Dease Studios in Barrack Street. In 1922 he set up his own studio, La Tosca Studios, at North Fremantle, and in the mid-1930s moved to High Street, Fremantle specialising in portraits and group photographs. He also took and sold candid shots at dance halls, provided the Sunday Times with news photographs and became well known for his streetscapes, using a big 5 x 4 inch Graphlex camera.
By all accounts Orloff was urbane, gregarious and civic minded, concerned for the welfare of newly arrived migrants and the disadvantaged. He was active in the Perth branch of the Australian Jewish Welfare Society, formed in 1937 to help Jewish refugees from Germany. He also loved angling, dancing, roller-skating, swimming, sailing, playing tennis and was a champion chess player.
Orloff died in 1981 at Yokine in WA, survived by his wife, Minnie Rose. They had no children. A wonderful collection of his images and negatives are held by The State Library of Western Australia. Take a moment to enjoy these highlights...
Source - Chris Jeffery, 'Orloff, Abraham (Izzy) (1891–1981)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 2012, accessed online 8 October 2022.

Click/tap on photos for larger size.

HMS Hood, 1924, courtesy of SLWA 111885PD (from Facebook)

The Leslie on the Swan, 1922, courtesy of SLWA 111508PD (from Facebook)

Beaconsfield Hotel damaged by wind, 1923, courtesy of SLWA 111745PD (from Facebook)

Fishing on the Swan at Guildford, 1922, courtesy of SLWA 112342PD (from Facebook)

Royal Perth Yacht Club jetty with the City Baths in the background, 1919?, courtesy of SLWA 112364PD (from Facebook)

South Fremantle Beach Children's Day, 1923, courtesy SLWA 112391PD (from Facebook)

Damaged by storm, 1923, courtesy of SLWA 112343PD (from Facebook)

Nedlands jetty and tearooms [from which the photo was taken], 1922?, courtesy of SLWA 112340PD (from Facebook)

Nedlands tearooms and jetty [behind the photographer], 1922?, courtesy of SLWA 111525PD (from Facebook)

Nedlands tearooms [extreme right] and jetty, 1922?, courtesy of SLWA 111525PD (from Facebook)

Artillery training at Rockingham, November 1925, courtesy of SLWA 112071PD (from Facebook)

On board the Ormonde, 1919, courtesy of SLWA 112317PD (from Facebook)

South Beach Hydrodome and shark net, 1924?, courtesy of SLWA 112393PD (from Facebook)

Izzy Orloff's car and friends, Como, 1926?, courtesy of SLWA 112353PD (from Facebook)

Boan Bros tearooms, 1919?, courtesy of SLWA 112320PD (from Facebook)

Flooded Cliff Street in 1922, looking north, commissariat offices on the left, SLWA.

Flooded Cliff Street looking south from High Street towards the Esplanade, Samson building on the extreme right, SLWA.The building with the flag is the post office.

Saxon Fogarty photo.

Fremantle Workers Club, 9 Henry Street. Occasion and date unknown.

References and Links

Hoffman, Louise & Chris Jeffery 1989, Izzy Orloff, Photographer: Images 1917-1935, FACP; with an excellent introduction.

Jeffery, Chris 2012, bio in ADB.

Wendy & Ari Antonovsky, notes about Izzy Orloff in their Heritage Walk.

SLWA, Notes accompanying the Izzy Orloff collection.

Photo of Izzy Orloff shipboard by Saxon Fogarty cropped from the image in John Dowson, Old Fremantle, UWAP, 2003: 14.

Bottom thumbnail of the self-portrait is from the catalog of the National Library. The photo is also reproduced in Hoffman & Jeffery, as a frontispiece.

Garry Gillard | New: 23 May, 2016 | Now: 15 March, 2024