there is white – and there is white

home processed colour print c1971

Toronto. Years ago, black and white processing was a piece of cake. The choice of paper grade determined the basic contrast to match the negative; a wide choice of paper tones and textures could be made; dodging and burning modified areas to give detail in the highlights and shadows; paper surface choices of glossy or matt could be made; You could print an artistic high key or moody noir shot; etc. In an evening, a roll or two of film could be developed and printed.

Colour was another matter entirely. As time went on colour negative film moved from a dense orange filter background to a more neutral background. My earliest experiences were taking an entire night to develop a film and then colour balance and correctly expose a single print! Worse, the colour chemicals quickly lost their potency and the next day a new batch was necessary to print again. It was simpler to have the film processed commercially and returned so you could make prints. Continue reading

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do you remember when colour prints were an option?

Kodacolor Ad May 30 1955

Toronto. The year was 1955 and in the May 30th issue of LIFE on page 45, Kodak boldly promoted the use of its color print film for those special occasions! Colour prints had a big plus and many minuses… Colour was more realistic than black and white; BUT it was ‘way more expensive, had poorer resolution, a slower ASA (ISO), and much worse, the prints faded badly.

Even a decade later, Weddings were printed in black and white, or a mix of colour and black and white, if for nothing else, the fact that colour prints tended to fade far sooner that black and white prints. In fact, after Kodak merged professional with amateur color print paper, the company was sued for the serious fading experienced by wedding photographers who used Kodak colour paper and were sued by customers for serious fading issues (see my post about two years ago on fading).

Today, we almost always shoot in colour to capture the information, then post exposure, we may choose to show black and white for effect or to hide the “grain” in low light situations.


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a great use for a camera

Globe illustration by Rachel Wada (March 15, 2019 issue)

Toronto. The Globe and Mail in its Arts section has a nifty column called First Person. The column prints various   eclectic essays written by readers of this fine old newspaper. Last Friday’s essay by Paula Turner Curating a Tour of Life in Vignettes is a retitling of her essay written on visiting her parents home of over 60 years after the death of her mother  (her father died a couple of years earlier).

Paula reminisces about how she could capture the numerous objects so important to her mother and their placement. She realizes neither she nor her children could ever keep all the many memories – photos alone fill 10 boxes! When her husband arrives with a camera to record an object for insurance purposes, she has an epiphany, realizing how to preserve her family home and its contents.

She has her husband carefully photograph every room and its contents. Read her words for yourself and think about how a camera could record your family home for posterity. I accidentally did most of this after my mother followed my dad’s footsteps to hospital and then a long term care home nearby a decade and a half ago this past February.

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Photo News Spring 2019

Photo News Spring 2019

Toronto. As I opened the Globe last Wednesday at breakfast, to my delight the latest issue of Photo News appeared! This Spring 2019 issue features a ton of animal shots as it specializes on Safaris.

One equipment article however, caught my eye. It was Peter Burian‘s special report on the Mirrorless Revolution beginning on page 38.  I am on my third mirrorless camera and I certainly see that there is no need at all for the mirror of the DSLR any more. The present day electronic viewfinder to me is an excellent alternative to TTL viewing.

Even the acronym has changed. Mirrorless cameras are now called CSCs – Compact System Cameras. This article is devoted to all mirrorless cameras, but emphasizes the virtues of the bigger full frame (24×36) sensors which have less noise and higher resolution.

Gorgeous photographs on high quality paper, great articles – and free as well! Hard to beat.  Editor Norm Rosen has another winner on his hands proving once again the benefits of his business model. Photo News is a far cry from the Canadian photography magazines of yesteryear which struggled to make a profit.

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Another great photographer – Margaret Bourke-White

Margaret Bourke-White
Chrysler Building NYC
1931 in a 1955 LIFE

Toronto. One of the attractions of the Chrysler skyscraper in the Big Apple was access to its gargoyles for a spectacular view of New York City. The Chrysler Building was for a brief 11 months the tallest building in the world until the nearby Empire State Building opened its doors and took the crown in 1931. It is still an amazing creation in the art deco style but no longer owned by Walter Chrysler or his estate. Nor is it the headquarters of Chrysler Corporation as it was from 1930 to the mid 1950s.

And in 1931, American Photographer Margaret Bourke-White, was photographed as she emerged from one of the buildings massive gargoyles to capture the NYC skyline.

This photograph was one of the ones used in the May 16, 1955 issue of LIFE magazine on page 16 in the Speaking of Pictures column to celebrate her 25 years working as a photographer for the TIME-LIFE organization, beginning work for its FORTUNE magazine before joining the staff of LIFE magazine.

Her work has been well documented over the years. She died from complications due to Parkinson’s disease at age 67. Thanks to my friend George Dunbar for reminding me of this great photographer and her association with LIFE magazine (she photographed the very first LIFE magazine cover shot of the Fort Peck dam (under construction at the time) featured in the November 23, 1936 issue).

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Japanese Photography; Video editing

Japanese Print

Toronto. PHSC, Wed, Mar 20 2019 at 7:30 pm
In the BURGUNDY ROOM of Memorial Hall

Japanese Photography in the Edo and Meiji Eras – Celio Barreto

Video Editing – Mark Holtze

We are pleased to present two speakers this month. Our newsletter editor in collaboration with the programme coordinator, Yvette Bessels, and our two speakers, prepared this detailed article giving speaker background. Or you can read Sonja’s complete and delightful newsletter here.

The public is always welcome. Go to our Programs page for directions.

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PHSC News for March 2019

Toronto. Editor Sonja Pushchak has whipped up another tasty edition of our favourite newsletter. If you would like your own personal copy delivered to you mailbox, just drop me a line here: (Don’t use this address for junk mail – only to get on our mailing list!)

Page 1 features an article on cameras and smartphones – hard to imagine they merged in 2002 for a really small VGA size image! Page 2 covers our March speakers and their topics.

Ever thought about Blossfeldt? You don’t know who he is?? Better read page 3! Besides posters, adverts, and coming events, there are a number if regular columns with fresh information and  more. Down load to read or print here (the icon links to a Nokia 7650 article).



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George Tice Exhibition

Esso Station and Tenement
Hoboken NJ 1972 – George Tice

Toronto. “George TICE (1938-) is one of the most important photographer of his generation. He is world famous for his black and white photos representing the American culture, urban and rural landscapes. His work is shown in more than a hundred museums and institutions worldwide. His photos of a small-town communities and urban environment won numerous awards and are represented in the most prestigious public collections.”

So says the cut-line in the GADCOLLECTION email notice of their George Tice exhibition – from March 14th to April 14th this year. The exhibition is entitled “An America Story” and displays his work taken in the mid to very late 20th century.

When you look at the ESSO station and the apartment building in Hoboken you can smell the oil, the gasoline, the suppers, as dusk settles in on this small city best known as the home of a young Frank Sinatra years before his climb to fame and fortune in music and movies.

Tice was one of the photographers whose work I admired years ago when he appeared in some Photography magazines (or perhaps books) that I read. If you are visiting Paris, France this spring, by all means drop in to GADCOLLECTION – a great chance to enhance your collection with a print or two created by the eye of a great American photographer.

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before we had Google for news

Globe Presses in Toronto 1939

Toronto. These are the presses that printed my favourite newspaper in 1939. The image is from the Globe archives and details are from an article in Monday’s Globe by Shelby Blackly.

The Presses (and the Globe and Mail) were located at 140 King St West in Toronto. In 1977, the Globe moved along to 444 King St West, the old Toronto Telegram building (the Telly ceased publication a few years earlier). Around that time, The Globe went to electronic type-setting and use of regional third-party printing.

To this day, the Globe is electronically set in Toronto and files are sent by satellite to printing presses located in various regions of Canada etc. for faster distribution.

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a big THANKS to the PPoC

Gallerie Winter 2019 PPoC

Toronto. Take a look here at Gallerie. The Professional Photographers of Ontario organization and its antecedents  were the proving ground for our journal editor Bob Lansdale.

He has produced impressive issues with well thought out content and content mix. In fact, over half the issues printed during the remarkable 45 year life of our journal were conceived and edited by Bob Lansdale.

In fact, our society would not exist in the form it is in today without his diligent and devoted publication of Photographic Canadiana, suggestions on speakers and suggestions how to improve our organization like his pdf newsletter that reaches thousands, displays at camera fairs, collection of email addresses, and his ideas and thoughts for our anniversaries (25th, 30th, 35th, 40th and now 45th) and much more – a behind the scenes force for innovation and encouragement.

A tip of the hat to Bob and the PPoC! We are blessed to have him as a member and serious volunteer.


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