ever seen a Gowlandflex camera?

Peter Gowland’s 4×5 TLR camera for glamour photography

Toronto. My thanks to George Dunbar for getting my attention on this series of cameras (only about 600 made – too small for McKeown’s 2001-2002 camera guide).

The late Peter Gowland was a famous Hollywood photographer. His studio was well known for its glamour work that led to numerous cover shots and Playboy magazine centre-folds. Peter was known for making his own studio gear. His 4×5 and 8×10 TLR cameras were used to shoot many studio and outdoor shots.

The cameras began in the late 1950s – even Karsh used one. Perhaps the most famous TLR, or twin lens reflex was the Rolleiflex. TLRs have two lenses with their focussing linked together. By using a faster lens fully open for the viewfinder, the camera design ensured the smaller aperture taking lens was always in sharp focus. The design removed a major user complaint against other popular cameras with their tiny squinty viewfinders and rangefinders.

Gowland’s covershots included photos used for camera magazine, The November 1989 issue of American Photographer had an article on the cameras titled “Parallax, Anyone?“. While Peter and his wife Alice have been dead for a few years now, their website carries on covering exhibitions, famous photographs, and of course, the Gowlandflex cameras.

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Where were you on August 9th, 1945?

Nagasaki Japan
A colourized photo by Hiromichi Matsuda taken fifteen minutes and five miles away on August 9th, 1945

Toronto. I had just turned 8 at the time. The second world war in Europe was over that May and we had celebrated V-E day. In early August, we saw a newspaper photo of the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. A few days later a second  bomb was dropped on Nagasaki and days later the war was over  with V-J day and we had entered the atomic age.

Few understood the horrendous risks brought to humanity or the devastation such “dirty” bombs could cause. A few years later the so called hydrogen  or “clean” bomb was invented. Dirty bombs used fission to break down uranium 232 atoms letting loose heat, energy, and radiation. Clean bombs used fusion to smash special hydrogen atom isotopes together releasing far more heat, energy, and less(?) deadly radiation. It was years later when I had grown up and read about the effects of radiation and the impact of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that I understood just how devastating radiation is to humanity.

My thanks to Russ Forfar for spotting this article by Noelle Talmon (Nicky Benson?)  on www.ranker.com showing a colourized version of photographer Hiromichi Matsuda’s famous photograph taken just minutes after the second American atomic bomb was dropped on a Japanese city.

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fall CAMERAMA show tomorrow!

is there a Minolta in your future?

Toronto. Member Gary Perry sent me an email last Monday reminding me that his fall show was this Sunday.

Gary writes, “Please be advised of our next camera show is coming up on Sunday September 23rd, 2018. It will be held again at the Edward Village Hotel (185 Yorkland Bl.).   The show will run from 9:30am – 2:30pm. Admission is $7.00 ($5 for Students).

I did an earlier post back on July 20th with the poster and more details. And Clint did an announcement both at our executive meeting and Toronto meeting this month. Come on out and add a bit to your collection or swap some items!

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a&l seminar on using photoshop

Jack Gilbert by brother Al

Toronto. My thanks to long time PHSC member Laura Jones, of Baldwin Street Gallery fame for this announcement. Jack Gilbert’s father had a famous portrait studio here in the city, now operated by his older brother, Al Gilbert. Jack is well known in the city as a lawyer and a photographer. He recently joined the PHSC.

On October 19th of 2018 at 7:00 pm the Arts and Letters club downtown on Elm Street is hosting a seminar taught by Jack. It’s an informal (Ad Lib) event about  photographs before and after they have been photoshopped. Feel free to bring your own before and after images to share.

As you will recall (or not) Adobe Photoshop is the earliest and best known of many apps that can correct and change an image after it was taken. Remember that the Friday evening  events are held in the 3rd floor studio and are very informal and participatory.

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instagram – yes or no?

an example of the Instagram account @insta_repeat image showing the similarity of shots (courtesy of Globe and Mail)

Toronto. To Instagram or not, that is the question to paraphrase the Bard’s words in Hamlet. In Wednesday’s Globe columnist Dave McGinn raises a timely question: Is Instagram ruining travel photography?

McGinn discusses the pros and cons of social media in its impact on travel photography. He notes that the proliferation of smart phones and the popularity of social media has pushed amateur photographers to take photographs that generate the most “likes”. To do this tends to mean the most popular kind of shot at any given location is snapped endlessly by amateurs, restricting the creativity of them and professionals.

He found an Instagram account that groups all like taken photos so you can draw your own conclusions.

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shooting stars – Rock On

Rock On exhibition at Brigitta’s in the Beach

Toronto. Long time PHSC member and professional photographer Harold Staats dropped me an email on Monday to say his photographs of well known Rock Stars will be on exhibition at Brigitta’s in Toronto  at 1899 Queen St. East, M4L 1H3 (in the Beach) from September 27th through October 30th, 2018

The opening reception will be held Thursday, September 27th from 7 to 10 pm.

For his biography, Harold wrote, “I first got interested in photographing musicians from a Czechoslovakian friend, Henry, that I used to work with, who was a very talented jazz photographer. I helped him out occasionally with setting up his equipment. I went to his home once and he showed me his hallway filled with beautiful black and white photographs that he had taken of famous jazz performers, Louis Armstong and Ella Fitzgerald among others. Although I’ve been interested in photography and taking photographs from a young age his work inspired me. So for more than 40 years I’ve been photographing rock, blues and jazz musicians.  Continue reading

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unintended consequences

de Silva boy c1961 by Gordon Parks

Toronto. Last week’s Globe and Mail carried a column by Rachel Wine on the exhibition at the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC). The exhibition is the photo essay Gordon Parks did in 1961 for LIFE magazine called The Flávio Story. It tells of the de Silva family in a hillside favela (slum) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

For 20 cents US, you could buy a copy of the June 16, 1961 issue of LIFE magazine about 57 years ago and read the story. The RIC exhibition runs from September 12th through to December 9th of this year. The RIC is downtown at 33 Gould St. Take a look.


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all a-twitter

our first twitter posting

Toronto. I had an email Sunday from Sonja and John, our PHSC graphics duo. John writes, “The THA (Toronto Historical Association), of which we happen to have bought a membership, has a Twitter account. They offered to post our tweets. To that end I have made up a graphic that is common to the layouts for Twitter. It’s been forwarded to them.

“The graphic is attached. The website and Facebook can also use the image if they wish.

In the middle of summer, Clint brought in a communications consultant who explained that we must expand beyond our website, emails, and Facebook to attract younger people interested in photography and its history so I was delighted to see us take advantage of twitter in this fashion. See you Wednesday!

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computational photography

Latest Apple iPhone can adjust depth of field look – Phil Schiller.

Toronto. When photographic processes were announced in January, 1839, they were slow, monochromatic, and demanding of both the photographer and the equipment. Over the years we saw the processes “simplified” and incorporated (or as Kodak famously said, “you press the button, we do the rest”), sped up, changed to full colour, and become ubiquitous. In the first half of the last century, the amateur fraternity expanded as cameras, films, and processing became off the shelf items.  Professionals focussed on industrial, portrait, news, and marketing disciplines where proper lighting and/or immediacy demands had to be met.

When digital arrived, it was either expensive and crude high end technology for the news photographers fighting tight deadlines with little need for high quality or resolution, or cheaper technology and speed for the well-heeled amateur. By this century the prices had fallen and the quality risen to the point where a thousand dollars or less would buy anyone decent resolution and speed compared to film. Continue reading

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PHSC News 18-03 for September, 2018

Vivex Tri-Plate colour camera c1936

Toronto. Another nifty page turner produced by our Sonja Pushchak. This delightful issue weighs in at 11 pages. The lead article on Cruise Queen ties in an early use of colour photos in commercial advertising with the illustration of a Vivex 3 plate colour camera.

Sonja’s  husband, John Morden,relates that, “The Vivex Tri-Colour camera held 3 glass plates behind filters of green, red and blue mounted on the two sides and top of the camera. This allowed the three negatives to be exposed simultaneously. Exposure required 50 seconds in full sunlight. A unit weighing six kilos, the Vivex was made from 1931 to 1939, after which the company closed due to war labour shortages.”

In the pre-Kodachome days, the tri-plate camera was the only way to get reasonably accurate colours and decent resolution for publication. Page 2 announces our speaker for this month. Following that are many gorgeous articles including David Bridge’s Equipment Review. I too once used Paterson tanks and the back-and-forth movement to wind the unprocessed negative strip into the reel. An earlier use of the FR tank used a outside-in loading of the reel and the cupped (crimped) ordeal to load 120 film strips and some times 35mm from the centre out causing some strip touching and developing issues.

We are introduced to a new team of flappers in “Ask Vi & Dot” who take over answering the mythical (and informative) questions. All the usual columns are included too. Just click the icon above or here for this issue


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