le film noir

Photo by Nopawach Gajajiva on Fantôme film

Toronto. In film technology (or analogue as they say today), the lower the sensitivity the finer the grain and the harder the contrast. Lomogaphy have announced “The Fantôme Kino B&W ISO 8 35 mm Film”. This new film, at such a low ISO, will be great for those dark, gloomy photos reminiscent of commercial 1930s movies shot on similar slow speed media.

I used a commercial copy film of similar low sensitivity to copy documents years ago. When I started out in 35 mm, Kodachrome was a fast ISO 10 rating so you had a choice detail in shadows or highlights, but not both!

Slow ISO speeds were common from the very beginning of photography. Dried emulsion on glass was too slow to use in the early cameras but proved perfect for making contact prints of hymns by sunlight.


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and the winner is …

Airequipt Superba 77A ad in LIFE

Toronto. Mid last century, companies worked hard to win a larger slice of the amateur photo market – especially in the USA, We saw where give-a-ways of non competing products for a few dollars and proof of purchase were used, This time a contest was held with the prize being a “free” projector, and if you didn’t win but bought any one of five different models of that brand, a consolation prize was thrown in.

You could write Airequipt to get a list of dealers in your neighbourhood – if such offers were allowed. Anyone with a number printed on page 29 of the November 9, 1962 issue of LIFE could take it to an authorized dealer who had a list of 1,000 winning number!

As you may know or recall, projectors like this one were necessary to view 35mm colour slides in a darkened room. Today, computers and smartphone technology have tossed such slide projectors on the garbage heap of lost dreams. Thanks to George Dunbar for suggesting this advertisement and such contests of days gone by created to sell both magazines and projectors.

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ninety-nine percent sweat

Skinner – lot of photos of Edison

Toronto. We find photographic collectibles in the darndest places – like non photographic auctions. Edison was said to define genius as one percent inspiration and  ninety-nine percent perspiration.

If you search out auctions, like one at Skinners, and patiently drill down, you can spot items for your collection like these photographs of Thomas Edison buried in the April 6 – 14 auction of Clocks, Watches, and Scientific Instruments.

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Brownie Super 27

Toronto. The Brownie Super 27 camera was advertised and sold in the early 1960s. It was basically a tarted up Baby Brownie: bigger viewfinder, built in flash, better lens at f/8, two speed shutter (but failure prone apparently), horizontal construction for stability, top release button, and using mini AG-1 flash bulbs and 127 film.  The two speed shutter setting was changed by opening or closing the flash door;  and a front knob set the lens to f/8 or f/13.5. Ads for the Brownie Super 27 said it was very steady leading to sharper colour or B&W photos in daylight.

An auto version was briefly made, but pricier. The front aperture setting knob was replaced by a sensor.  Both models used a fake sensor panel below the viewfinder. They were constructed of a hard plastic prone to breaking if dropped on a hard surface.

Like many cameras of the 1960s, the Super 27 touted its built-in flash, bright finder, and adjustments for colour or B&W.  If you are really curious, you can read the instruction manual here courtesy of Mike Butkis.

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instant film photos in style

Toronto. My thanks to Clint who forwarded an email he received from member Stuart Moscoe. Stuart included this link to PetaPixel, a site we have mentioned before. Instax allows Fuji, Lomgraphy, etc to use SX-70 style “Polaroid” film.

This article states, “Analog photography company escura wants to “take instant photography to a new level,” so they’ve taken to Kickstarter to fund something called the Hasselblad Portrait: ‘the first fully compatible instant film back for your Hasselblad V-System camera.’

“The concept behind the Hasselblad Portrait is pretty straightforward: it’s an instant film back that lets you shoot Fujifilm Instax Mini film—currently going for $13.50[US] for a twin-pack of 20 total exposures—on any Hasselblad V-System medium format film camera.

“The back is designed to fit seamlessly onto your Hasselblad camera, installing in one click and letting you expose photos as normal. A viewfinder adapter, focusing table, and darkslide are also included. Once you’ve taken a photo, a knob on the side of the instant film back allows you to manually eject the photo and watch it develop.

“Build-wise, the Hasselblad Portrait is made of military-grade aluminum, weather-sealed, and wrapped in artificial leather that is designed to match the fit and finish of your Hasselblad.”

The link also shows sample portraits.

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selfies: hope vs. reality

selfie, anyone?

Toronto. About 60 years ago, Polaroid advertised that “everyone” used their system to take home photos (i.e. “selfies” – a name coined  just a few years ago). That was hope since the reality was that a very small percentage of amateurs used Polaroid extensively or otherwise.

Today, everyone has a cell phone with front and rear facing cameras (the front one is for selfies). That is the reality. And hope? Well. that is that at least some of the selfies are attractive to others. …

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cough, cough

a discounted Brownie Bullet Camera

Toronto. Many companies last century offered deals on non-competing products to expand their market segment. An example was Marlboro cigarettes and Kodak (in the days before the link between cigarettes and lung cancer/heart disease was legally confirmed and tobacco products banned from advertising).

Any American for a few bits of cigarette packages could order a Kodak Brownie at a big discount. The tobacco company sells more cigarettes; Kodak moves more film burners for its non camera products; and everybody wins, cough, cough.

My thanks to fellow PHSC member George Dunbar for sending me this advertisement from page 29  on the June 15, 1962 issue of LIFE magazine. It was typical of the ads of the day promoting one product by offering another at a lower price via mail order and “proof of purchase”.



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stay home – stay inspired

Toronto. By now we have all heard and felt the impact of COVID-19 and its repercussions. The terms – social distancing and self isolation have become common concepts as countries world wide struggle to contain this nasty virus.

For entirely different reasons, I recently stopped delivery of the Globe and Mail after decades of reading this fine newspaper including the wonderful Photo News quarterly magazine. Fortunately, Rita Godlevskis over at PhotoEd, has managed to keep her epic journal afloat with its eye catching photography and articles. Such magazines are even more necessary as we shutter our doors to avoid contagion – or transmission to those with a weaker immune system.

Here is her latest broadside encouraging subscriptions. If you haven’t done so yet, consider getting one yourself and see how we are doing in Canadian Photography.

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film savings nearly 60 years ago


Toronto. My good friend George Dunbar is a fabulous source of suggestions and inspirations as he pursues photographic history as reflected in magazine advertisements last century. Today’s item stems from George’s email a few days back showing a collaboration between Kodak, Polaroid, Sylvania and select grocery chains. Notice the emphasis on colour – both slides and 8mm movie film.

This ad is from the May 25, 1962 issue of LIFE.  George was surprised to see Loblaws mentioned since we view the chain as Canadian, which it is. But what is not so well known is that it operates many American chains too, When the ad came out, Loblaws also operated a chain of the same name headquartered in Chicago. Small world indeed!

The hints that the coupons are for the American chain are in the spelling; the other chains shown; and the fact the magazine is American. NB. At the time, Sylvania made flash bulbs, an important consumable for camera amateurs, not made by either Kodak or Polaroid.

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a snowball’s chance …

the topic is snowmen …

Toronto. Many image collectors specialize. Some by process (like daguerreotypes), some by history, and some by topic (like bicycles).

PHSC member and speaker, Jeff Ward sent me this interesting link to a New York Times article about a collector of snowman photographs, a subject with a very short life.

The article, “To All the Snowmen We’ve Made Together” was written  by Gideon Jacobs and published on March 19th.

(Wow, 75 years today! You made it!)

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