it’s that time again …

Toronto. … time for our fall fair – October 15, 2023! After the fantastic ESTATE Auction a few days ago we are gearing up for our Fall Fair. Click on the poster icon below to see a full size poster ready to be read or printed and read. Lots of tables of film and digital goodies to add to your collection or user gear.

Date: Sunday, October 15, 2023 from noon to 5 pm with table set up from 10 am to noon.

Place: Trident Hall 145 Evans Av in South west Toronto (usual venue).

Admission: $7 – Students with ID enter for free – parking free.

More information/questions: email (Mark Singer) or

PHSC Fall Fair October 15, 2023


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having a blast

book cover of Oppenheimer biography that is the basis for the very successful movie

Toronto. While not directly related to photography – other than the book’s photos, this book was the basis for the recent movie whose release prompted  an unexpected box-office success. I first learned of Oppenheimer as a youth interested in the Atomic and Hydrogen bombs and the history around their invention.

My good friend and fellow reading enthusiast, George Dunbar,  sent me a note recently regarding the book and ‘biopic’ of this famous scientist. George writes (in part), ” …  to tell you about the “Oppenheimer” film I saw a couple of weeks ago and the book from which it was adapted. I love ‘biopics’ and this was a good one, but I’m always aware that such films have a tendency to alter facts for greater entertainment value.

“After seeing the film, I got the book, America Prometheus, J.Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) by Bird & Sherwin 2005 ( 721 pages), from the library.

“Apparently, this comprehensive biography was 5 years in the making. So much detail in the book that, obviously, could not be contained in a film, although this film is 3 hours long.

“There is one scene, in particular, that is certainly altered from the authors’ descriptions.
Oppenheimer met with President Truman in the White House in 1945 and the President’s (quite shocking) closing remarks are altered (faked?) in the film.

“I’m assuming here that the book’s description of that meeting is more accurate. I think we all know by now, that Hollywood never misses an opportunity to alter dialogue for box-office appeal.

“I certainly enjoyed both book and film.”

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magazine photography

1998 book of photos and conversations with many of the LIFE magazine photographers

Toronto. A big presence in the magazine world of last century was LIFE magazine. The magazine, based in NYC, had its own stable of photographers. In October, 1998, a book by John Loengard, called “Life Photographers: What They Saw” was released by Bullfinch Press.

The 456 page book, “A collection of interviews and 270 photographs traces the work, experiences, and careers of the original staff photographers of LIFE magazine, documenting how they pioneered the picture story and the photographic essay.”

In a recent email exchange with George Dunbar, he explained, “I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently—–books, magazines, newspapers.

“A few books from the public library and others out of my own library that I’d forgotten about. Finally read this marvellous book of interviews with 44 of LIFE magazine’s photographers.  It’s been in my library for the last 25 years. I probably only looked at the photos back then, but now decided to read the text. A wonderful experience!

“Between 1936 and 1998 Life had, at various times, 91 different staff photographers. They all, apparently, had careers of wonder, excitement, danger, fear and success.

“I suppose photographers, like the rest of us, have many and varied beliefs … ”

Visit your local library or buy a used copy of the book to learn more about many famous America photographers and see some icon photographs.

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a crash course

an accident in the summer of 1960 in a small town

Toronto. We are so accustomed today to full colour photos/videos if not the actual people, scenery,  concerts, theatre, etc, that we never give it a second thought.

That was not always the case. Think about not having photography or photographers. We would have to either be there or be able to read and comprehend text in great detail relieved perhaps by the odd wood-cut or steel engraving.

When this accident happened, black and white film and photos or short movies were the norm. TV was low resolution black and white showing short movie clips during the news before and after the half hour or  hour programs interspersed with ads. At night, on the weekends the movies shown were old, and cropped to fit the allotted time period, ads, and TV aspect ratios. Not exactly the same as shown years before in movie theatres.

New films by then used the far more expensive and finicky colour processes of the day. Even in the silent era, some films used one colour (toning) or two colour processes  – usually for the positives sent to theatres in large American cities.

Post war, newspapers regularly used B&W photos. The pricier magazines could afford colour covers and selected colour in their ads. By the 1950s/60s, the novelty of colour home movies attracted some brave souls to ‘commemorate’ events like weddings, retirements and birthdays with their movie cameras.

Today everyone has a smartphone with a digital still camera and video camera included. Once taken, images can be viewed instantly and ‘edited’ right there or on a computer. The images can be sent anywhere in a flash. No waiting for the mail, no scrounging projection gear and a darkened room – just view and enjoy! “How To” videos are much preferred to static manuals even if they come with lots of stills!

Without photographic processes, there would be no photos, just tons of text and engravings. And paintings of the rich and famous. We would need to rely on this  –  and old buildings plus a colourful imagination – to give us some idea of history … perhaps even taking a crash course in reading and comprehension.

PS. If you would like more film/digital gear for your collection or use (for example as a niche user of film) be sure to visit our fall fair, “The Big One” this coming October 15th.


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an image maker

Ontario Council of Camera Clubs logo

Toronto. Well, this is actually the name of the O3C (Ontario Council of Camera Clubs) newsletter. Our society is a member of this august body of photo educators although most of us collect old cameras and images.

The O3C provide insight to the age of modern photography which in time will itself be history. Since our members include many professional photographers and amateurs still devoted to capturing arresting photos, the advice and guidance of the O3C is most welcome.

In recent times we have provided speakers to various camera clubs in the interest of garnering new PHSC members from the attendees with an interest in the history of their hobby and a passion for collecting old gear.

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polar bear town

Polar bears at Churchill Manitoba – apologies to the photographer as I misplaced the link

Toronto. I hope you had a productive visit to our fabulous Estate Auction yesterday. Now take a breather before doing the October Fall Fair. The title of this post is the nickname for Churchill MB and also a series on APTN television and the Smithsonian channel of Youtube.

You may have been unaware that Churchill is on a migration path for poplar bears and as such is a mecca for wild life photographers (both professional and amateur) world wide who congregate in season to photograph these remarkable beasts.

A recent episode of Polar Bear Town covered California Wild Life photographer, Andrew Bazeley, as he and guide Dennis Compayre pursued a bear to get a rare over/under shot (a swimming bear taken with the camera partly submerged). The book linked to Dennis’s name discusses a bear called Dancer who appeared in an earlier episode on TV.

When I visited BC and Alberta a couple of decades ago, the rail spur up to Churchill was not open. The tundra holding the rails and ties was deemed too unstable and dangerous that summer. If you like Wild Life photography – or polar bears – be sure to view the clips on YouTube and track down the TV episodes shown currently on APTN.

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land ahoy!

LAND – courtesy of PhotoED’s call for submissions notification

Toronto. Our favourite editor, Rita Godlevskis, has a very timely, ‘LAND: call for submissions’ for a coming issue of PhotoEd magazine.

We have all heard the hue and cry caused by Premier Ford’s decision to swap critical green belt land just beyond the GTA for a much larger amount of land far away. Do you remember the song by Joni Mitchell called “Big Yellow Taxi“? It may be prophetic now.

All levels of government (and seemingly all parties) want to be seen as helping Canada build affordable housing at the moment – what a promising time to look at our land, its beauty and meaning!

Rita says, “THIS WINTER, The LAND issue will present work that celebrates the beauty of the land we stand on, alongside the abrupt changes that we see happening before us physically, geopolitically, spiritually, and more.”

You can checkout Rita’s call for submissions on land here. And our ESTATE AUCTION is Sunday, SEPTEMBER 17th!

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go for the gold

Shonett (Respiratory Therapist) by Ellen Tramley (courtesy of C.A.P.A.)

Toronto. Our friends at C.A.P.A. sent me their monthly newsletter the other day. C.A.P.A. is another one of our exchange members. By visiting their website you can call up and view all the newsletter they have issued.

C.A.P.A. have gone the online pdf route for their newsletter like many of us trying to reduce costs. If you are also a professional photographer and interested in artistic photography, you may wish to join C.A.P.A.

In addition to their newsletter, C.A.P.A. have a SPEAKER SERIES. The next presentation, by Judy Hancock Holland  is on the evening of October 18th. Details are in the above September newsletter. This talk will be held just a few days after our Fall Fair (and a month and a day after our big ESTATE Auction which is both auction and our September presentation)!

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another great reason …

Montreal Camera Show – Sunday, October 29th, 2023.

Toronto. … to visit Montreal this October (along with the charm, scenery, food, and exotic locale).

My friend and frequenter of our shows here, Sol Hadef, is holding his fall show October 29th (Sunday) this year.

Sol writes, “The Montreal Camera Show will take place Sunday, October 29th between 10:00am and 3:00pm at the Marriott Courtyard Montreal Airport, located at 7000 Place Robert-Joncas, Montreal, H4M2Z5


“Everything photographic, new or used, film and digital, cameras, lenses, flash, tripods, filters, film, accessories etc..

“Visitors: $7 at the door

“Thinking of selling your unused or unwanted gear?? Table rentals are $75each. Reservations required. Please call Sol Hadef at 514-898-5351


You “Better call Sol” at the above Montreal telephone number, or visit his website:

Or show visitors can view the poster at the left/above for details.  Click on the icon for a larger view.

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news from down under

LaVerne Magic Lantern before restoration – from Back Focus June 2023

Toronto. Our sister organization in Australia recently sent out their newsletter, the APCS NEWSLETTER No.139 – September 2023.

The Australian Photographic Collectors Society, inc. (APCS) has been an exchange member of the PHSC for many years. Visit their website here for more information about this enthusiastic and active group.

The current newsletter is online and may be viewed here. They also publish a journal Back Focus (like our own Photographic Canadiana) and also place the current issue online for all to see.

Note that while the APCS have both newsletter and journal online, they ask interested people to not only download the documents but join as well to help fund the APCS and its events. APCS only sends members in Australia a printed copy of Back Focus. Those members without an Australian address are requested to download the PDF version as international postal rates today are too high (no surprise).

The magic lantern shown at left/above is from an article in the current issue of Back Focus (begins on page 21). Download issue 118 and enjoy this and all other articles.

PS. The next ‘Photographic Market’ to be held for APCS members is this Sunday, September 17th. Not an APCS member. or not planning to be in Box Hill, VIC, Australia on Sunday? Then be sure to visit our own auction on the same day – an Estate Auction with many unusual items for both collectors and users (film and digital).

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