an eagle eye for your camera …

Zeiss Catalogue Ph333e pamphlet
reprinted by Seaboard Printing Ltd
in Bedford Nova Scotia

Toronto. It was July, 1936, when Zeiss Jena produced its Zeiss Objectives catalogue, Ph 333e. In this catalogue, Zeiss lenses were tagged as “The Eagle Eye of your Camera“.  Unlike Leitz, who used the lens name to indicate a lens’s widest aperture, Zeiss used the name to describe the lens design used. So for example, Tessars came in various mounts, speeds, and focal lengths but always with the same internal design.

In this era of orthochromatic black & white films, Zeiss, like many firms, offered a series of coloured glass filters. And of course they were well known for their line of microscopes, eye pieces and objectives.

Zeiss products were sold world wide in Zeiss stores or at various non-Zeiss stores licensed to import their optical instruments.  In Canada, Zeiss products were imported and sold by the chain of Hughes-Owens stores based in Montreal. The chain had stores in Ottawa, Toronto, Quebec City, and Winnipeg.

I bought the reprint from Zeiss collector John Alldredge. in April, 1991 at one of our photographica-fairs.  John was a frequent exhibitor over the years and a member of the PHSC and its executive at the time (handling PHSC promotions).

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Slip, slidin’, away

Hughes-Owens Sun Hemmi
Slide Rule

Toronto. Paul Simon wrote this song in 1975 and released it a few years later. It showed up as a Simon and Garfunkel song (I have it on a CD).

The song captures the spirit of film and film cameras that are slowly drifting into history. Our fairs often offer film cameras and accessories which are still snapped up by collectors and student users alike.

Like those fabled films and cameras, slide rules were victims of the digital era – but even earlier. An essential tool for scientists and engineers from the 1600s on, pocket calculators and personal computers in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s eliminated their purpose and utility. Similarly, cameras like the Exakta, Leica and Contax all used the ubiquitous 35mm roll film which quietly disappeared as digital cameras and now smartphones took over, making family records fast and simple.  Continue reading

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The First Parliament Project

Our First Parliament

Toronto. Katelynn Northam sent our President, Lewko (Clint) Hryhorijiw, via our website, an email regarding Toronto’s First Parliament project. Our province was variously known as Upper Canada, Canada West, etc, before the entire country was called the Dominion of Canada after the 1867 confederation.

Katelynn writes, “In November 2017, the City of Toronto initiated a new project to develop the site where the First Parliament buildings stood from 1797-1824 — located at the unassuming corner of Front Street and Parliament Street in downtown Toronto.

“The site carries important historical themes that to this day reveal the fascinating evolution of the City, the Province, and even the Nation. It was here that the legislation and policies emerged that would chart the path of a new nation and affect the lives of countless people.

“The First Parliament project will involve a detailed examination of the site’s history followed by the development of strategies for telling the site’s colourful stories. These strategies will then become the foundation for a Master Plan that will define how the site might be developed and for what purposes.

“Public and stakeholder engagement will be an essential part of the process. To that end, we are inviting everyone who is interested —whether in the site’s history or about how this part of the City is evolving— to sign up for additional information on the project and to receive updates on the upcoming engagement process. “” Something old. Something new. The First Parliament Project.”

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where have all the flowers gone – II?

Ottawa photo at the end of Global
News TV on Wednesday
courtesy of Aaron Kemery

Toronto. To paraphrase Pete Seeger’s famous song, of the 1950s, where have all the photographers gone? As a kid in the late 1950s and 60s, I can remember this song coming over the radio frequently.

Each milestone in the evolution of photography made the art easier and better for the amateur to the chagrin of the professionals who were once essential to record history and create a realistic ‘likeness’ of the common man.

Each step reduced the cost and effort involved in the capture of a memorable image, simplifying the taking and reducing the cost while the artist used more and more complex and cheaper equipment.

This has reached a point today where TV often uses amateur videos shot on the ubiquitous smartphone – usually in vertical format with two blurred side panels from the video to transform the clip to the 16×9 format of modern day sets. Even news slots wrap up by soliciting ‘your photographs‘ via social media like the beautiful view of Ottawa, above. Where have all the flowers (photographers) gone indeed!

NOTE. I first used Seeger’s song title back on July 12, 2014 for a similar lament – and I still haven’t subscribed to Adobe’s cloud  although some of my CS5 apps are beginning to fail with the latest macOS release (InDesign and Photoshop especially).

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PHSC News 17-07 (January 2018)

Minolta Disc-7 using Kodak’s tiny
disc film introduced to us years ago
by Dennis Cannon when it was first
announced by Kodak

Toronto. Our good friend and fellow PHSC member, Sonja Pushchak, has whipped up another tasty morsel for you with her 12 page issue 17-07 of PHSC NEWS, our monthly pdf newsletter. Click on the Minolta Disc-7 icon at left to print or read this issue, meantime here is a summary for you:

Sonja begins with an article and photo from Tina Barney‘s book Photographs: Theatre of Manners. She uses Barney’s 1983 shot of domestic bliss called ‘The Graham Cracker Box‘. This is followed by her announcement of our January 2018 speaker and her topic in a page 2 article called ‘PHSC PRESENTS. These are followed by other one page articles like the story of a Montreal restaurant, Au Lutin Qui Bouffe, or IMPERMA-FROST about the great Montreal ice palaces of yesteryear. This segues into THE ICE ADS, a story about hockey card heros.

From there we go to a 1600s painter who used the name Caravaggio and the current issue on photography in art. David Bridge, our intrepid PHSC Lab expert ruminates on the classic Leica vs. Contax argument, using the far more economical Russian knock-offs. David’s wife Louise follows with the popular WEB LINKS (there are actual hot links in our pdf – click on them and see!).

Just click on the above icon to read or print this issue. Note that each column and article in our modern newsletter is a single page long, including photos. For more in-depth articles, like the analysis of the oft viewed and debated D-Day Landing film clips, join the PHSC and get our Photographic Canadiana journal 4 times a year.

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the famous Hasselblad 2-1/4 square SLR

Hasselblad 1600F ad
from the May 1951
Pop Photo magazine

Toronto. My thanks to George Dunbar for finding this charming May 1951 ad for the original Hasselblad camera in Popular Photography magazine. Surprisingly the company goes way back to 1841. A photography division was first established in 1887. Popular recognition however, had to wait until after the second war. In 1948 Hasselblad came out with the model 1600F camera and as they say, the rest is history. By the late 1950s the camera and company were known world-wide.

Victor Hasselblad was a bird watcher and designed the 1600F to suit his hobby. However, the design of the camera body and lenses were such that the Hasselblad caught on with the professionals. Once quality and reliability issues were resolved they became a common sight in studios. Even today, while used models sell  at far below the prices demanded in the heady days of film, the cameras, lenses and accessories bring in decent prices. Hasselblad still makes cameras today – high end digital models.


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March 3, 1947 photographic milestone

March 7 1947 issue of LIFE announces the
picture in a minute
photo process

Toronto. George Dunbar sent me an email the other day showing the first announcement of Edwin Land’s picture in a minute process in the March 3, 1947 issue of LIFE

I recently did a post on the impact this picture in a minute system had on post war photography. The LIFE photograph first announced this astonishing process to the world at large.

It is hard to imagine in this digital age that we would wait days and weeks to see the results of our snap-shots unless we or a neighbour knew how to process and print the negatives.

NOTE: I erroneously credited the ad shown here to the NYT newspaper edition of the same day. Mea culpa…

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Bratty NYT Photo Collection at Ryerson

Toronto. PHSC Meeting, Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018
Bratty NYT Photo Collection at Ryerson
Dr Denise Birkhofer of Ryerson University

Come out and listen to Dr Birkhofer speak on the Canadian Photographs in the Bratty Family New York Times (NYT) Collection at Ryerson University’s Ryerson Image Centre.

Denise Birkhofer (PhD, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, United States) is the Collections Curator and Research Centre Manager at the Ryerson Image Centre. Her scholarship addresses such topics as Mexican street photography, contemporary Latin American art, and female artists.

Most recently, she co-curated the exhibition “The Faraway Nearby: Photographs of Canada from the New York Times Photo Archive.” In her previous capacity as Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, Ohio, she organized exhibitions on the work of Hugo Brehme, Judit Reigl, Brett Weston, and Fred Wilson, among others.

NOTE: This talk was originally planned for the Ryerson Image Centre and will now be at our regular location, Gold Room, basement  North York Public Library. The public is always welcome. Go to our Programs page for directions.

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an early Walcott Daguerreotype?

Early Walcott Image?

Toronto. Photographic Canadiana editor Bob Lansdale prefers to collect old images rather than photographic hardware.

Last Wednesday our January executive meeting was hosted at his home. Pre meeting we enjoyed seeing a few of the interesting images Bob has collected over the years, especially from his trips to nearby localities not usually associated with photographica.

Bob writes, “Here is some description of the “pinchbeck case” patented by Wharton that would match the daguerreotype that I was showing last night…. and could not get open to show you the inner sardine-can-like unit that enclosed the dag itself.

“When I did have it open years ago there was the name COX engraved/scratched in script into the copper backing of the dag image. The case has Queen Victoria’s coat-of-arms impressed into the back of the case.

“I believe from the size of the image plate that it might have been done in a Walcott camera where a concave mirror was used to secure the image rather than a lens.”

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double your pleasure …

Iloca Stereo Camera courtesy of
CJ’s Classic Camera Collection

Toronto. Fellow member George Dunbar came up with this period advertisement for the Iloca Stereo camera (version 1) from a January 1951 Popular Photography magazine ad.  You may be more familiar with one of the camera’s aliases, the Realist, or Tower (Sear’s brand).

The popularity of stereo vision has waxed and waned over the years. There was a burst of interest at the end of 1800 and beginning of 1900 resulting in the commonly seen curved cardboard stereo cards that offered education and entertainment before television. Stereo jumped in popularity once again in the 1950s with these 35mm cameras and the ubiquitous View-Master for children and adults alike.

Even books were written about stereo like 1954’s  Stereo Realist Manual by Leica enthusiasts Morgan and Lester. The book is filled with stereo pictures and a back cover insert of a special little pair of stereo glasses!

The 1950s also sprouted many rather high camp 3D movies as well. When camera collecting came into vogue, a society, the National Stereoscopic Association (NSA) and their periodical Stereoworld showed up and hung around. Leitz got into the act with various accessories for the Leica camera including stereo prisms (Stereoly) and even small closely matched 33mm Elmar lenses (Stemar).

And more recently, the brief burst of interest in 3D televisions, which died out due to the need for ungainly and expensive glasses and rather limited source material. 3D movies have arrived once again but are easier on the eyes and do not rely on obvious high camp 3D effects, but are often created at the same time as the less expensive 2D versions.

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