Magical Mystery (Makeover Studio) Tour

Yvette Bessels on
UK Makeover Studios

Toronto. PHSC Meeting, Wed, June 20, 2018 at 7:00 pm
In the BURGUNDY ROOM of the Memorial Hall

Magical Mystery Makeover Studio Tour – Yvette Bessels

In May of 1967, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as an LP which I promptly bought. In November of that same year the famous band released the sound track of the movie Magical Mystery Tour as an LP.

Come out and hear Yvette’s experiences working in UK Makeover studios during the hey-day of the famous makeover fad. Yvette’s own words were tuned and used by editor Sonja Pushchak in our latest newsletter on page 2. Yvette may seem familiar to you – she is our program director and a serious wet plate photographer in her own right.

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

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early photography

Watkins Standard c 1890
actinometers for cameras and enlargers.

Toronto. PHSC co-founder John Linsky sent me an email the other day suggesting this excellent site for early photographic cameras and equipment. Early Photography as the site is named, is based in the UK and as such is weighted towards British and European gear.

The site spans a wide period of time from the 1850s to a century later, the 1950s.  Lots of photos of each category and descriptive text. Take a look!

The page on the Watkins Standard Actinometers is typical of the site with many illustrations, technical listings, and an essay on the family of actinometers that preceded the well known Watkins Bee (the Bee came to market in 1902 although the Standard continued to be sold for nearly two more decades).

I have a couple of Wynne’s Infallible meters, an 1893 competitor. And the Wynne’s Hunter model, first offered in 1914. The meters were fascinating to me as they seemed to be built into a pocket watch case. And where did I get such little marvels of historic times past? At our photographic-fairs, of course!

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Newsletter PHSC News 18-2 (June 2018)

Underwater housing for
home movie camera.
Click camera for PHSC News

Toronto. Editor Pushchak has served up another tasty treat for readers of her well received PHSC News. The June 2018 edition was distributed  on Friday morning to all those who subscribe (want your own copy? just email me and ask!).

We start with a 1949 layout by the late Vogue photographer, Clifford Coffin. Page two as usual features the next PHSC speaker, in this case our very own Yvette Bessels talks about her experiences in a couple of UK makeover studios.

The equipment review covers early digital cameras, the Olympus  SP320 in particular. Web Links discovered three nifty sites: Dorothea Lange photos of the great depression (for the FSA); history of the QEW, Toronto’s famous 4 lane expressway built before the second world war and still busy, very busy today; and finally the US National Parks Service archives (the parks alone are beautiful).

We say good-bye to Ask Phinny in this issue with some thoughts on the ill-fated giant elephant called Jumbo. Click on the camera above or here to see these and all the articles and columns in this issue!

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in my merry automobile …

LIFE Sept 11, 1950 – the 1906 Delavan Run

Toronto. We had many home grown automobiles like the McLaughlin in Oshawa, the Tudhope in Orillia, the Whippet, etc. Some like the Brooks Steamer had American roots long before the auto pact or NAFTA. All are gone now or absorbed by American car companies.

In the September 11, 1950 issue of LIFE magazine, the editors posted a series of pictures of American automobiles of 1906. It was a number of separate photos  to record a special travel event.

In the early 1900s, wealthy folk bought the new autos and formed auto clubs. The cars shown here were owned by the society folk of McHenry County in Illinois who celebrated a 20 mile run to the Delavan Hotel in Wisconsin one Sunday. The 25 cars used by the 98 members who made this particular trip for a great meal and a night out were recorded with a revolving camera owned by a Chicago photographer who was at the hotel that night.

The original panorama print was six feet long. The LIFE copy shot from the old print was cut up for the magazine! The roads? They were made for the bicycles popular from the mid  1800s, not the brazen new autos! Just ask member Lorne Shields, a bicycle historian and one of our speakers next fall.

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colour photography in WW1

WW1 colour aircraft Sept 1916

. We seldom think of colour photography dating back to the earliest days, but it did. Louis Ducos du Heron born in 1837 predicted all the colour processes ever used. We (I) never think of colour photography before the late 1930s when Kodachrome was invented. Earlier processes existed beginning with the autochrome in the very late 1800s and early 1900s. The first commercial processes were additive, slow, grainy and costly.

Subtractive process improved the speed and set the scene for colour prints in the 1940s and later. By the 1970s easy home processing of prints took off for a short while.  Today, we wouldn’t even think of black and white other than a niche product give the huge number of TVs, computer monitors, digital cameras and smart phones with high resolution colour screens.

Shannon Perry first spoke to us on WW2 colour photographs back in late 2011. Thanks to Russ Forfar who alerted me of a Daily Mail article on WW1 colour photography.

The cut line on the aircraft photograph I used here reads,”French Captain Robert de Beauchamp stands alongside his British Sopwith fighter in September 1916, after returning from a bombing raid on Essen in Germany.

The picture was taken shortly before his death at Verdun. According to Le Souvenir Français, an organisation which remembers France’s war dead, Beauchamp ‘was the first to organize and execute long-range bombing, showing, in the accomplishment of these missions, an energy, a tenacity and a daring that was unparalleled’.

Use the search word colour in the upper right search box of our site to see more about colour.

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photographer Alan Mungavin takes a shower in 1950


Toronto. Well George Dunbar has spotted another funny photo-related essay! In the July 10th, 1950 LIFE magazine issue (6th bullet down in link), British photographer Alan Mungavin set up to take a photo with an old shutterless field camera. As Mungavin carefully backed up to expand his scene, he fell backwards into what looks like a wading pool!

The lens cap is still in place suggesting the only shot taken was of a rather wet photographer …


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would you rather a Kodak 35 to a wet plate camera?

Kodak 35 RF Model
LIFE Oct 30, 1950 Ad

Toronto. In late October, 1950, LIFE magazine ran an ad for Seagram’s American version of  Gin called Ancient Bottle Gin. To promote it as a modern drink, the ad suggested you would more likely prefer a snappy modern Kodak 35 rangefinder camera capable of colour photographs to an old black and white slow speed wet-plate camera.

Today, the Kodak 35 rangefinder camera is worth about $20 at best while the wet plate camera, tripod, and brass lens – if you can find them – would be very valuable. Ironic. The Kodak 35 rangefinder camera was the American war-time answer to the German Leica and lasted from 1940-1951. It was a fixed lens camera with various f/3.5 Kodak lenses and shutters.

Thanks to George Dunbar for sourcing this lovely old advertisement. A step back in time indeed!

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Photo News 27-2, Summer 2018

Snails by Marianna Armata
in PHOTONews 27-2

Toronto. At the end of May, I was at our latest photographica-fair and bumped into Norn Rosen, editor of the PHOTONews. I said to Norm that I had enjoyed the aricles in 27-1 about macro-photography. “Great!”, he replied, “there are more articles on macro-photography in the latest issue which has just gone to press”.

And sure enough, as I opened my Globe last week, there it was, the latest issue of PHOTONews. On the cover was a whimsical macro shot of two snails on green stems by Marianna Armata of Montreal. Inside this issue in the column TECHNIQUE TIPS,  Christian Autotte covers Polarizing Macro, a technique that uses polarizing filters to enhance macro shots. As usual the articles and photo galleries are thought provoking – even the advertisements inspire the amateur and professional alike.

If you don’t subscribe to a large daily newspaper wth a complimentary issue enclosed, or are not near a newsstand, wait a few months and this issue in both English and French will appear on the PHOTONews website!

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David Douglas Duncan 1916 – 2018

David Douglas Duncan in Miami,
Florida, April 1969. Photograph:
Ray Fisher/The LIFE Images
Collection/Getty Images

Toronto. George Dunbar dropped me a line the other day noting that the Guardian had announced the death of the famous American war photo-journalist David Douglas Duncan in France were he had lived since the 1960s. Duncan was one of last of the WW2 era soldiers.

My aunt Claire from Belgium was a young war bride who emigrated here a year after the war ended. She was born about 1924. I can still remember the excitement when she arrived in her new country and at her new town. Her father was a station master in Ghent. Now in her 90s, she is still alive.

I first learned of Duncan in the famous TIME-LFE series on photography. Duncan and his photos were featured in their THEME volume. Another famous photographer.

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June 6th commemorated D-Day landing in 1944

Normandy Beach
German bunkers in IR
by Lynda Laird

Toronto. Are you old enough to remember the June 6, 1944 D-Day landing of allied troops on the beaches of Normandy 74 years ago? The few remaining film clips of that epochal landing are all Canadian although they are often credited to American forces. Bob Lansdale did a detailed story which appeared in Photographic Canadiana 42-2 and on our website here.

A few days ago, my friend Russ Forfar sent me an email with a link to BBC News and a picture essay by Lynda Laird on June 4th. She used colour infra-red to show German bunkers on the beaches of Normandy previously hidden by camouflage and shrubbery.

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