whatcha doin’ Sunday the 20th?


Toronto, Well then, go and see CAMERAMA! Gary’s first show of the year will feature lots of collectible and usable cameras and lenses, etc. Shake off the winter blahs and see what you can do to augment your collection or make your shots more effective.

Click the icon at left for details and directions! Or click here to send Gary an email.

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Kodak Canada: The Early Years

Jan 2019 Meeting

Toronto. PHSC Meeting, Wed, Jan. 23 20 6 – 8  pm
At Ryerson , 33 Gould St, Toronto.

Our first road show of 2019 is at the RIC on January 23rd, 2019  (Thanks to the Ryerson folk for this delightful poster – as seen in Sonja’s PHSC News newsletter for December).

The meeting is a week later than usual and down at the RIC – click the poster icon at left for details.

This exhibition is hosted by the Photographic Historical Society of Canada (PHSC).

The public is always welcome. Go to our Programs page for times and directions.  Remember January’s meeting is at a NEW TIME and a NEW LOCATION!

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directory of Massachusetts photographers 1839 – 1900

1870s Drug Store in Mass. by Chas. W Briggs

Toronto. Ron Polito via Bob Lansdale suggested this link to his “Directory of Massachusetts Photographers 1839 – 1900” as an addition to our Research menu item which is currently in design mode.

Meantime, take a look at the work of Ron and Chris Steele. The images have been removed to preserve copyright, but many are available online as well on the same site (just click on the desired decade). If you have an interest in the history of our wonderful art, have a browse!

The image at the top left  is an example of material in the directory. It is a print of a c1870s Drug Store taken by Charles Wells Briggs, contributed by Briggs’ great great grand daughter, Priscilla O’Neill. The site is the Open Archives hosted by the University of Massachusetts and merits an evening of browsing all materials posted!

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lighting the way

GE Flashbulb Ad in LIFE
September 6, 1954

Toronto. Tom Edison’s company got into the blossoming flashbulb era of the 1950s and 60s as shown in a September 6, 1954 LIFE magazine two page spread (pp30, 31). One of our society’s presidents and founders, the late Larry Boccioletti, shown here by editor Bob Lansdale, sold flashbulbs long after they became an anecdote to photographic history.

When Larry shuffled off this “mortal coil”, the summer of 2004, I did a post on this site mentioning his flash bulbs. For those of us who discovered photography after electronic flash and then digital/smartphones became common place, the flash bulb is indeed a novelty from ages past. The bulbs gave a single shot of blinding light flooding darkness with brilliance and heavy shadows.

Thanks to my good friend George Dunbar once again for discovering this old advertisement from when slow ASA (ISO) media made an alternative means of illumination so full of promise.

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Potsdam ASA 100 B&W Film

Potsdam ASA 100
35mm film

Toronto. The folks at Lomography like the film niche so well that they are introducing another BW film in the traditional 35mm cassette.

To today’s photographer – amateur or professional an ASA (ISO) rating of 100 seems pathetically slow, yet in the 1940s and 50s it was considered to be medium to fast. I used Super-XX which was rated at ASA 100. It was later rated ASA 200 before it was replaced by Tri-X,  another great Kodak film that eventually became ASA 400 film.

If you enjoy using the old film gear, try this film and be sure to drop in at our spring auction and Photographica-fair or one of Gary Perry’s CAMERAMA shows.

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Swann Auction of Posters, Books, Graphics

Poster – Swann Auction Galleries
New York City – Colours enhanced

Toronto. Nick Lowry at Swann Auction Galleries in the big apple sent me a note Friday saying Swann is hosting a poster auction on February 7th, 2019. The advertising editorial material says, “Our winter sale features tantalizing, rare Art Nouveau images and a panoply of evocative Ski and Winter Resort advertisements, as well as a strong selection of Art Deco imagery.”

An earlier auction on January 29th at Swann will offer Fine Illustrated Books & Graphics. Their advertising editorial material says, ” An oasis of images both Art Nouveau and Art Deco, this auction focuses on twentieth-century livres d’artiste with a selection of important examples of fine printing and press books, typography, architecture and graphics.”

Browse their web site and see if one of the posters or books would complement your photographic collection.

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whatever happened to Press King and its maker?

Toronto. At last month’s meeting – our annual Show and Tell – one of our members brought along his vintage Press King. The 4×5 camera has a Kalart rangefinder mounted on the side and a leaf shutter and lens on a metal lens board. The shutter -Copal- and lens – Prinz – are Japanese.

There is no sign the camera ever had a focal plane shutter. Every one I found on the internet had a different lens and leaf shutter mounted on a similar metal lens board. Some had the Kalart rangefinder, some had viewfinders, others flash guns. All had the wire sports finder.

It is clearly marked on the camera front as Made in Canada by B & W Manufacturing Co  Toronto. McKeown’s 11th edition suggests the camera was made for only three years, 1948 through 1950. A search of the internet shows nada about the maker, but lots of cameras for sale with pictures as well. The manufacturer is not credited with other products including cameras. Every site seems to repeat McKeown’s information. Any ideas? Drop me a note.

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PHSC News issue 18-07 for January 2019

Hasselblad C/M c1970-94
click to read/print this issue

Toronto. Editor Pushchak has released another incredible pdf newsletter. What a bargain! 10 pages. Full colour. With her snappy style, lots of photos, and a single page per article, Sonja is aiming at a younger crowd with less interest or time to spare on matters photographic.

For those wishing more in depth articles, we offer our now well established paper journal, Photographic Canadiana with fewer but more intense articles on history, images, equipment, and collecting. For the very modest fee of $32/four issues it is truly a bargain, plus you get a membership and ten monthly presentations by people well experienced in the art of photography.

In this issue of PHSC News, we begin with a look back at Watergate in America (thinking of the current umm president) followed by our first road show to open the Kodak Canada exhibit at Ryerson’s RIC. Photo book 101 looks at The Apollo Project from the year 2000 book of the same name.  After the March Auction Poster, David regales us with a means to process and “scan” 4×5 cut film for those of us who are sans scanner.

This article is followed by a Holocaust Memorial, Web Links, and all the other features and columns we have come to know and enjoy. Did I mention the price? FREE! you can down load or read the latest issue here, see all issues (18 years) under the sub menu items below menu item NEWSLETTER, or even leave your email address here for a personal copy mailed directly to your inbox every month of the year (except summer, when the livin’ is easy …).

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Frank Prazak, Sports Photographer 1926-2018

Frank Prazak – Globe & Mail

Toronto. In Wednesday’s Globe column Lives Lived the loss of photographer Frank  Prazak age 92 was celebrated in this story by his wife Penny. Mr Prazak last lived in Mississauga, Ontario and was famous for his innovative sports photos. He died last summer on August 23. In 1992, his Red Wine won an award presented by  the Amateur Winemakers of Ontario.

Many of his sports photos reside today in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The HHofF is one of our exchange member groups. We  had the privilege of visiting their archive in the Long Branch Mastercard Centre in the south west area of Toronto for the March 2013 program meeting.

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for the buggy photographers

Toronto. in the last century, a book was published for nearly any discipline. This book by Linssen was published by the Fountain Press in London in 1953, over a half century ago now.  Many books at the time were heavy on text with mainly black and white photographs grouped on inserted plates.

Anything included in the text had to be a sketch or very poor resolution half tone. This book addressed close-ups as they pertained to insects at various stages of their life.

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photographic lenses – Conrad Beck

c1920 Optical Treatise

Toronto. Like most optical houses in the 1800s, The British house of R and J Beck at Cornhill (London, England) expanded their optical product repertoire to photographic lenses (and cameras). In this seventh edition of Conrad Beck’s small book, like all microscope makers do, Beck endeavours to educate the rank and file user. In this case, it is the advanced amateur or professional photographer, on the technicalities and scientific principles of photographic lenses (Authorship is given to Conrad Beck and Herbert Andrews). Many universities have digitized various editions in recent years.

While my copy is strangely undated, this 1920 edition covers the Beck Isostigmar which was first announced in 1906. The book also covers exposure calculators and  “instantaneous” shutters of a couple of seconds to as fast as 1/80th second. Such calculators and shutters were never required before the dry plate era of the late 1800s.

We often think of auxiliary lenses used to change prime focal length as a system only used on inexpensive cameras with none interchangeable lenses. However, Beck and others promoted such concepts in the late 1800s and early 1900s with their lenses that had elements which could be removed to make useable lenses of differing focal lengths.

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