In the Wake of Progress

In the Wake of Progress, Ed Burtynsky courtesy the Toronto Star

Toronto.  I first saw/heard about the work of Edward Burtynsky when his 2006 movie called, “Manufactured Landscapes” was shown that fall at TIFF. The film was introduced by its director, Jennifer Baichwal. Between a ticket mess-up and volunteers who were supposed to let those in line and ‘ticketless’ in to use the empty seats and didn’t, I ended up seeing this amazing film alone.

A few years later I saw one of his “Three Gorge Dam” prints in person at the AGO, narrated by PHSC member and now retired Curator of Photography (AGO), Maia Sutnik. This was at the February, 2009 meeting held at the AGO and titled, “A Night at the Gallery (AGO)“.

PHSC President Lewko (Clint) Hryhorijiw sent me this link to a Toronto Star column titled, “Edward Burtynsky’s ‘In the Wake of Progress’ lets visitors get up close to nature’s destruction” by Sue Carter in last Thursday’s Toronto Star.





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a Kodak challenge in 1934

The Kodak SIX-20 Challenge

Toronto.  This challenge may simply spark curiosity or indifference with the smart phone crowd, who shoot full colour indoors and out; be it sunny or gloomy; on subjects close and far (and all things in-between) then casually send the best views instantly to friends near and far!

The Kodak advertisement in the August, 1934 Popular Mechanics magazine said, “Compare this 1934 Kodak with your present camera”. The ad introduced the then new Kodak SIX-20 line of cameras. A few years later, my dad bought it’s less expensive junior version to capture his first born (me).

My thanks to my good friend and fellow PHSC member, George Dunbar, for sharing this advertisement with us. What a great reminder of the days when we relied on those terribly  slow old films and a snappy folder camera fresh from Kodak in Rochester or Kodak Heights in Mount Denis.

My dad used his SIX-20 folder for most of his life. I later bought him a Polaroid and then an Instamatic, but neither camera was as satisfying to him as his old folder! Oh, yes. All the best for a Happy Canada Day (Canada was established as a Dominion in 1867).

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national (USA) camera day

Studio camera, Ross of London, mahogany, brass, bellows, c.1880, 6 x 4 in., $270.
Photo: Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

Toronto. For a price, Kovels will gladly show you the latest prices for antiques – including those of a photographic nature. Yesterday, June 29th, was known down south as ‘National Camera Day‘ and celebrated as such by Kovels. As far as I can see, Canada does not celebrate June 29th – but you never know …

Shown at left is a beautiful example of a c1880 view camera by Ross of London, England. Lens extra …

The camera was made of wood and brass when the cameras where usually used on a tripod to get a jiggle free result. This camera uses 6×4 glass plates, in the era of dry plate photograph, less than a decade away from early roll film technology..

Kovels graciously show prices and sources for the images reproduced in their post celebrating June 29th.

Thanks to author, sports photographer, collector, PHSC member and more, Les Jones,  for suggesting the National Camera Day page at Kovels.

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summer in the city

Summer 2022 PhotoEd magazine, Toronto

Toronto. Editor Rita Godlevskis just keeps on creating these wonderful issues! Great work Ms Godlevskis! Rita is the person in charge (editor) at PhotoEd magazine.

Take a few minutes and browse all the amazing talent on display. There is both a print magazine and an online magazine. If the print magazine is not on your newsstand any longer, subscribe and have it mailed directly to you.

Note. This note uses the same title as a song sung here by Joe Cocker, “Summer in the City“. I remember hearing it as a youth on long hot summer days.

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all aboard the gravy train …

Ad for Corsair II camera in the September, 1941 issue of Popular Mechanics

Toronto. In September of 1941, America had not yet joined in the War in Europe that had been underway for two years, in spite of Churchill’s pleadings and the US President’s empathy. The loss of German cameras to America seemed imminent, sparking an out pouring of unique designs – that and the introduction of a rather fussy and pricey Kodachrome transparency film a couple of years earlier.

One of the protagonists of this design cornucopia was the fabled ‘Universal Camera Company’ of NYC (soon to become a Chicago entity). The firm identified all the pitfalls affecting colour photography and 35mm cameras.

To solve these identified afflictions, they announced a remarkable camera called the ‘Corsair II‘ that purported to ‘think for itself’ – and for just $20 US.

The company portrayed the camera as being the camera for colour, ‘ “Mistake-proof” features make it the ideal color camera. The essentials of successful color photography … accurate shutter speeds … correct exposure over entire picture area … and exposure meter … are all built-in features. Nothing more to buy, except film!’

If this Bakelite wonder is unfamiliar to you , check out the instruction manual here courtesy of Mr Butkus in NJ. And visit our fairs and auctions to find this and other Univex cameras.

And a thank you goes to my good friend George Dunbar for suggesting both this and the ad in the previous post on the Kodak Medalist.

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anything you can do …

Announcing the first Medalist camera

Toronto. … I can do better! Shades of Annie Get Your Gun! In December of 1941 (by the time this issue hit the stands, Pearl Harbor ad been bombed and America was dragged into WW2 kicking and screaming). This issue of Popular Mechanics announced a remarkable new Kodak camera that promised to bring to 620 film the features and benefits found on German imports like Leica, Contax, etc..

Shown here, the photographer has his hand on the ‘fine focus’ knob while using the accessory frosted glass back as a focussing screen. In the article the camera remains unnamed although it is obviously the famous Kodak Medalist (I) which stayed in production from 1941 – 1948 when the (II) replaced it. During WW2, the camera was customized for the military with a black anodized coating. According to McKeown, this coating drifted over to early post war cameras too.

Note. The title is a line from a 1946 song by Irving Berlin featured in the Broadway musical which became a film musical four years later, “Annie Get Your Gun” sung here by Howard Keel and Betty Hutton.

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it’s a barnum and bailey world

Phineas and Charlie from a Smithsonian copy of a Daguerreotype photograph

Toronto. Collectors of images may find new additions for their collections at the Port Colborne auction today. The two day event (Saturday and Sunday) honours the memory of PHSC member, auction coordinator, and 1st VP, the late John Kantymir. All lots in this event are from the Kantymir collection.

My good friend, George Dunbar sent along this image of a beautiful daguerreotype of Phineas T Barnum and his protege, ‘General Tom Thumb‘ A.K.A. Charles Sherwood Stratton. At the time, daguerreotype portraits were expensive and likely personal keepsakes. NB. the history of the circus, including Barnum’s involvement, can be read at this Wikipedia Link.

Years later, people like General Tom were captured on wet or dry plates and then cabinet card size copies were cheaply made and widely distributed to advertise the person as the late Michael Mitchell explained to us back in March 1980 and later in  October 2003.

NOTE: The title of this post is a line in “It’s Only a Paper Moon” sung here by the great Nat King Cole.

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1mm ring and bayonet rear lens cap from 1960s – 70s

Toronto. After recovering from WW2, Leitz embarked on their famous M series bayonet mount cameras with the extremely popular M3 camera. Like many leading manufacturers, Leitz was aware of their strong base of owners of the older screw mount cameras. They tackled the transition from screw to bayonet mount lenses and cameras in many ways.

The last screw mount camera model, the IIIg was sold alongside the M3 and introduced a few of the M3’s  features. Buyers of a Leica could buy either the M series or the IIIg.

While the screw mount Leicas were slimmer than the slightly larger M series cameras, the film plane to lens mount distance was actually one mm longer. The 28.8mm screw mount distance became 27.8mm in the M series. This allowed a 1mm thick ring to be added to an M series camera lens mount, converting it for use with older screw mount lenses. This meant owners with screw mount lenses could use them on the newer M series cameras.

You may have noticed that the earlier M series black Bakelite rear lens caps have three odd tabs moulded on their outer back. Did you ever wonder why? They were actually a three tab wrench! Occasionally the 1mm ring converting bayonet to screw mount got stuck on the camera. This ‘wrench’ could make fast work  of removing the ring. Of course, if the ring was stuck to the lens, a cloth between hand and ring made short work of freeing it up.

Also, most rings are marked with a lens focal length. The ring would lock in the correct bright line in the viewfinder of the M series camera corresponding to the chosen lens! Anyone not that fussy could use any of this line of rings to convert a screw mount lens (and some lens accessories) to bayonet mount Leicas.


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Leo does Leica

Leotax version of a Leica screw mount camera post WW2

Toronto. After WW2, the Japanese optical industry tried to get in to the mighty American retail market. One option was to copy German cameras at much lower prices. This was the choice that Showa Kogaku made (later this maker became Leotax before disappearing in the early 1960s).

Showa Kogaku had practice – its cameras were first manufactured during WW2 copying the Leica II and III. The Leotax  camera shown here is in the 2000 serial number range and is marked ‘Leotax special’ by ‘Showa Kogaku’ on the top plate.

The lens body and mount imitate the design of the f/3.5 5cm Elmar. The lens is engraved as the ‘Letana Anastigmat’ with same speed and focal length as the Elmar. A worthy addition to collections featuring Leica copies. Don’t have one? Terrific! There is one in the Port Colborne auction this weekend, complete with a leather case needed for its strap (no strap lugs on this version).

NB. The auction is in the memory of the late John Kantymir whose collection is the source of the pieces to be auctioned.

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the last round up

A sample lot of images in this weekend’s auction

Toronto. PHSC Auctioneer and President Lewko (Clint) Hryhorijiw dropped off the last group of auction lots for this weekend at Port Colborne.

This slide show is the third huge batch of lots that Clint has photographed and organized – and the two day auction promises to be a most memorable event. Both rare items and  user items  – attractive to film and digital folk alike – (eg. photographs, cameras, lenses, accessories, and books, etc.)  are in the many lots. Come on down/up to the Port and enjoy this event. Add some great items to your collection or user gear!

Please note that while everyone is welcome, there will be no consignment lots at the door as all lots are from the collection of the late Bill Kantymir and his late son John. – first come first serve.

PS. click on and check out this poster for the time and place of the Kantymir collection auction this Saturday and Sunday.

This is our final  post of sample lot photos (another 150+ items). The slide show was compiled with the help of an  app called Exhibeo 2. Click on the sample images photo below, then on the lot shown in the upper left and then on any lot icon to see it larger. Your left/right arrows will work to move from one enlarged photo to another. Enjoy!

A sample lot from the June 25-26 auction in Port Colborne

PS. No need to search elsewhere – the two slide shows of lots loaded a few days ago are at this link and this link. Both links have been repeated here for your convenience.

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