baker’s dozen

Toronto. We held our 13th ZOOM exec meeting Wednesday evening. And once again, Celio deserves a huge thank you for arranging it in spite of his busy teaching schedule at post secondary institutes. The third wave has whacked Toronto into total lockdown and stay at home status. ALL live events are still cancelled and our monthly meeting venue (North York Memorial Hall) remains closed.  Meantime vaccinations race on.

The April issue of our newsletter, ‘PHSC News’,  goes out this month to nearly 1,900  addresses (sign up at for your free pdf copy). Members get specials plus the journal via pdf. (contact me if you are a member and HAVE NOT seen the pdfs). Some members have unsubscribed to MailChimp; some emails are invalid; and others have no email on file with us or with MailChimp. Questions? Drop me a note at

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PHSC News for April 2021 (Vol 20-10)

Fake Security Camera

Toronto. At right top of page 1 in this issue is the  AlfaView Solar-Powered Bullet Dummy Fake Surveillance Camera. Saves cost. A few decades ago when we had a store front in the Kingsway, I used a real camera bought used at one of our fairs. I left it unpowered and unplugged – until a customer pointed out to me that no cables mean a fake…

As the fourth month of 2021 gets underway, our editor produced a nifty April Fool’s edition (some articles are fake news, some are real). COVID-19 vaccinations are well underway in spite of the COVID-19 variations surfacing world-wide. Vaccines and close adherence to common sense guidelines brings a bit of sunshine in spite of the sharp peak in cases.

Our editor extraordinaire, Sonja Pushchak, and her team have composed this latest issue of PHSC News (20-10). Take a few moments and read all the articles in our latest newsletter and ease your personal cares!

On page 1, the article ‘Important Announcement‘ speaks to the current dichotomy between COVID guidelines and their understanding – meet Minister Katt… Next, under PHSC Presents is, “Practical LED Lighting for Filming a Hit Sci-fi Series“, complete with a link to an interesting video on YouTube. On page 3, the column STREAMables, continues the page 2 story with an essay titled, “Two Hundred Years from Now in The Expanse“; while page 4 features a cheeky look at the Royals in the article, “A Closing Comment on a Clutch of Calamitous Claims in the column called MEDIA-rology.

Page 5 discusses “A Contradictory Manifesto: The Paradox of the Futurists”  in the “ANTI-photography” column back when Italy was flooded with Futurists. David does his usual tongue-in-cheek Equipment Review, on an accessory to concentrate a consumer grade flash in his “To Flash Beamer or Not to Flash Beamer? Beam Me Up!“ article while page 7 has a trio of WEB LINKS of interest to us all.

Not to be overlooked, Page 8 features a poster on our forth-coming ZOOM event – Lorne Shields on “VISUALLY COMPELLING HISTORIC CYCLING PHOTOGRAPHICA”. Lorne is popular and his talks well illustrated and always fascinating – don’t miss out on this one! On page 9, Ivy & Izzy discuss that old chestnut about spaghetti in ‘Just What is it That Makes Yesterday’s Pasta So Different, So Appealing?

P.S. As usual, every link shown in the newsletter is a hot link just waiting for your click!

P.P.S. You can visit this issue by clicking here, or by g0ing to the menu item NEWSLETTER at the top of the page. There is a drop down menu that takes you to older issues dating back a couple of decades to the very beginning.

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flogging colour print film in the 1970s

a 1972 advertisement for Kodak colour film

Toronto. At first I thought these were two separate shots showing the superiority of Kodak colour film, since cameras or gift sets didn’t appear in the advertisement. Suddenly, I realized that the vertical white bar was a seam. This photo was a two page spread! The ad shows the rich colours and detail Kodak film accomplishes in print. Then I remembered that Kodak made its profit on photographic supplies, not consumer equipment, and as such it worked hard to promote its films.

This LIFE magazine ad on pages 40-41 of LIFE’s May 26, 1972 issue purports to show those rich colours and details. The style, camera, photographer, lighting, etc. are never mentioned. The implication is that anyone with a Kodak camera (The image of a tiny film box to the bottom right is for an Instamatic cartridge. Few others made cameras to take the cartridges as the film plane was rather erratic.) can take such rich and colourful photos of family and friends, intuitively moving closer and framing the exact moment everyone watched the ‘birdie’.

My thanks to good friend and photo historian George Dunbar for sharing this find with us! Well done, George.

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down periscope

First Periflex model

Toronto. The Corfield Periflex line fulfilled the post-war demand in Britain for  a quality 35mm camera. The cameras copied the old Leica screw mount bodies without a rangefinder or (initially) a viewfinder.

Borrowing from the SLR world, a periscope and mirror slid in between lens and film to allow focussing  on part of the image. The lens mount was threaded to fit all Leica screw mount lenses.

We saw a few occasionally at our fairs. To the modern smartphone camera user, the Periflex was downright slow and complicated to use, yet well loved in Britain for the few years it was marketed.  A quality camera at a good price, far cheaper than a Leica.

N.B. The title of this post recognizes the many submarine movies of the last century. My favourite being the German film “Das Boot” which was sadly by far the most authentic.

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Werra you been, my blue-eyed son?

mid 1950s Werra 1 courtesy of Camera-Wiki and Dries van den Elzen

Toronto. After the Second World War, Zeiss and Jena ended up in the Soviet zone of Germany (East Germany). A western version of Zeiss was quickly moved to Oberkochen.

The East German Zeiss continued to manufacture optical instruments. Cameras were made for both Eastern and Western consumption. One such line of cameras in the 1950s and 60s was the futuristic Werra. Most cameras came with a Tessar normal lens although legal issues blocked any cameras sold in the west from using the name Tessar.

The Werra line was elegant and minimalist, suggesting a design for the future. The cameras often appeared in our fairs and were listed in McKeown’s price guides. (I use the 11th edition – 2001/2002). The image upper left is courtesy of Dries van den Elzen whose Flickr stream may be seen here.

Note: The post title is a riff on a line from the 1962 Bob Dylan song, “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall“.

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like a surgeon

The late 1920s Gewirette camera courtesy of CJ’s Classic Camera Collection

Toronto. A fitting title in this pandemic crisis we face today! The camera you see here is the Wirgin Gewirette v.1 manufactured by the Wirgin company in Wiesbaden, Germany.

This particular camera predates the 35mm minicam revolution. It uses 127 roll film and has a leaf shutter and collapsible lens of which a variety of lenses and shutters made by others were assembled in this model.

You may recall other cameras lines made by Wirgin, like Edinex and Edixa. The cameras showed up at our fairs and meetings, especially last century. The image above, left is courtesy of CJ’s Classic Camera Collection. Cees-Jan de Hoog lives near Edinburgh in Scotland. His site is well worth a look, especially with its beautiful images. These cameras are a testament to the innovative camera designs created by Europeans between world wars.

The title is a popular song by Weird Al Yankovic that is a parody on the 1984 hit song by Madonna called “Like a Virgin“.

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Dennis Cannon 1938-2021 age 83

Dennis Cannon
Enhancement by
Bob Lansdale

Toronto. I was saddened to receive an email late yesterday from Bob Lansdale. A mutual friend, Dennis Cannon died April 4th, 2021 at St. Joe’s, here in Etobicoke (the west end borough of Toronto). For many years, Dennis was a top sales executive for Kodak and an active member of the PHSC from 1977-1997 before moving to BC.

When he returned to Toronto some time after retiring from Kodak, he became a PHSC member once again and a frequent attendee of our monthly Toronto meetings before COVID-19 hit.

When the Kodak Disc cameras and film were introduced in 1982,  Dennis spoke to the PHSC in the old stand-alone North York Memorial Hall, extolling the tiny film’s resolution and printing details when correctly processed.

I remember attending an executive meeting at his home on Baby Point Road a few months  before his talk on the Disc cameras. Dennis was a great asset to the society, always ready to help out (Membership Secretary in 1981; participation on various committees; etc.).

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a CHPF off the old block

Gears down east by George Hunter, courtesy of the CHPF online digital collection

Toronto. Back on March 22, 2021, I did a post on the CHPF photo contest. Tusday afternoon I heard directly from Nicole Plaskett on a new on line image facility.

Nicole writes, “The Canadian Heritage Photography Foundation (CHPF) is excited to announce the launch of over 4000 images digitized through our recent project: Through the Lens of George Hunter: Digitizing and Preserving Photographic Images of Quebec and the East Coast 1940-1990. This project was made possible in part by Library and Archive Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program 2020/2021.

“The images of Quebec and the East Coast of Canada, photographed by acclaimed photographer George Hunter, cover a wide area and feature diverse communities, industry and landscapes from all across the provinces.  There are photos of mining communities in northwestern Quebec like Malartic, French communities in New Brunswick like Bouctouche, and small fishing villages in Nova Scotia like Pictou.  Also digitized are some of Hunter’s aerial photographs both of more remote regions, as well as more well-known sites such as the Bay of Fundy, Quebec City and Peggy’s Cove.

“This year presented unique challenges to say the least. The dedicated CHPF staff and team of student interns had to deal with delays, strict covid protocols, and working from both home and in the office. Despite these challenges, all 4000 images were digitized and are now available online through the CHPF Digital Collections at:

“We hope you all enjoy these beautiful images and the many others in our ever growing digital archive!”


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Photographic Canadiana Supplement 2-3 (April 2021)

Phootgraphic Canadiana Special Supp 2-3 cover

Toronto. The PHSA’s  Northlight appears once again in our special members-only supplement, this time its first two issues from 1974. As a member of the PHSC, you received this supplement Friday, the 9th of April.

Vol 2-3 was sent out last Friday afternoon to all current members with an email address. If you did NOT get a copy, please email me at and I will send you a copy after verification of your membership. Not YET a member? well, for heaven’s sake! Grab your plastic and register via PayPal on the upper right of this page! And you can donate to the society the same way via PayPal, or go to our Canada Helps entry on the link below the PAY NOW button.

The preamble to 2-3 says, “The NORTHLIGHT was the Journal of the Photographic Historical Society of America, once published quarterly. The Photographic Historical Society of America became a formal organization in November of 1973, and the first issue of their journal came out in the spring of 1974 with John S. Craig as editor. Eaton S. Lothrop Jr, Matthew R. Isenberg and Nathan R. Skipper Jr. functioned as the advisory board. Several other societies were involved in the publication: The Ohio Camera Collectors Society, Midwest Photographic Historical Society, Chesapeake Antiquarian Photographic Society and the Western Camera Collectors Association.

“In their first issue, John Craig stated that NORTHLIGHT was destined to become the magazine of photographic collectors and historians everywhere. As the journal of the Photographic Historical Society of America, it was to report in each issue on the activities of affiliated and participating societies in the PHSA and was to provide a calendar of events for these societies around the country.

“Following in this PDF is the NORTHLIGHT Issues Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1974 and Vol. 1, No. 2, Summer 1974.

“In an effort to make this material available to collectors, historians and those interested in the history of photography, this content was digitized by the Photographic Historical Society of Canada (PHSC) and Milan Zahorcak in 2019, 2020 and 2021 for distribution to PHSC members. If you have any questions or would like higher resolution scans of any of the images, please contact the PHSC at”

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future history

Mock-up of Ingenuity flight cortest of NASA News

Toronto. The title of this post may sound like an oxymoron but it isn’t. The American agency, NASA, successfully landed an explorer and a tiny helicopter (drone) on Mars a few weeks ago.

The helicopter, Ingenuity by name, has a camera on board and will take photographs of the red planet from up to 3 metres high.

Keep in touch with NASA News as details unfold.

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