THE PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA

Show and Tell 2004

moderated by Clint Hryhorijiw

Clint Hryhorijiw

With the exception of our resident expert on all things cinemagraphic, it could have been called President's night featuring society presidents past, present and future speaking on subjects in their area of expertise and interest. Our host and moderator for the night was program chairman Clint Hryhorijiw.


Stan White kicked the evening off with a lament on the difficulty of being creative today in traditional flat photography. Fortunately, stereo offers scope for innovation. Stan presented the first three-camera 3D system I've ever seen. Three Kodak Medalist medium format cameras on a yard stick long stereo-bar. Stan uses this gizmo to make infrared stereo landscapes. You may wonder about the middle camera since traditionally stereo is created by letting one's eyes and brain merge two slightly different views of a scene. This is the innovation: the middle camera uses colour film, not infrared film. The colour image is modified in Photoshop and layered on each of the infrared images to add back a sense of colour to Stan's strange ethereal views of the Southern Ontario countryside. 

Medalist trio for stereo
sample colour infra-red stereo views

Bill Kantymir must have difficulty choosing only one item from his wide, eclectic collection of photographica. Tonight he chose the theme of spy cameras hidden in cigarette lighters  (noting that lighters and other smoking paraphernalia are fast becoming things of the past). The first two examples, the Camera-Lite and the Echo 8, were cameras cleverly built into Zippo style lighter cases. The third example the Tuxi, slid into a rather fancy looking Ronsonesque shell.

Bill and his Camera Lite Camera Lite The Echo 8 camera lighter
Camera Lite packaging looks like a cigarette package tucking the tuxi into its lighter shell tuxi and lighter on its tripod

Robert Gutteridge, writer, teacher, and collector introduced us to the European movie camera for home movies. Pathé Frères manufactured these compact cameras which used a 28mm wide film. The negative film has squarish sprocket holes along each edge while the prints made for projection have only a third as many holes along one side so the film can only be threaded one way and cannot be confused with 35mm film stock. One design feature of the European cameras is the placement of the feed and take-up reels side by side. While this means a more complex threading path, it allows the designer to make a more compact unit.

Pathé Frères 28mm camera lens with cap on
Robert shows the postive film with varied sproket spacing and negative film with regular sprocket spacing Pathé Frères 28mm camera c1912 Pathé Frères 28mm camera c1912 - open notice the left and right hand sprocket spacing
replacement crank made by Ed Warner

As a side note, Robert discussed the issue of nitrate film material vs. safety film. While nitrate-based film is very flammable, it can be safely stored in containers in a cool dry room if the containers are not air tight. Nitrate film became notorious in the early days when a temporary tent theatre went up in flames with loss of life. The actual cause of the accident was the careless use ether as an illumination fuel. The resulting fire ignited the nitrate film. The nitrate base was preferred to safety film because it resulted in a sharper image. The nitrate film was completely phased out by the 1950s. Projectors designed to run nitrate material had built-in fire extinguishers and steel shutters that closed when the film slowed on its way through the gate.


John makes a point

John Linsky dipped into his closet of photographic curiosities and pulled out a display case full of antique solutions to metering light. We forget in this era of automated point and shoot cameras the skill and efforts needed in the past to get a decent exposure so the photographer could process and print at a later time. John's selection of gadgets relied paper tint, light extinction, or an elaborate calculator mechanism to predict the appropriate shutter and aperture settings in the days before the photo-electric cells became commonplace. I still have my first Weston Master III which stopped working at sundown leaving me at the mercy of tables or flash until the next sunny day.

John using Dr. Schlichter's photometer
1926 BJ Almanac article on Dr. Schlichter's Photometer brass tint meter for reading directly from a view camera's ground-glass back
calculator rings on the Photometer buisness end of the Photometer Le Posographe - an elaborate mechanical device for exposure calculation tint meter and calculator in a watch case combi-meter

Les Jones began with a question: "what's black and white and read all over"? The answer was our Photographic Canadiana which Les praised highly along with the driving force behind its quality, our well known editor Bob Lansdale and his helpers.

full plate daguerreotype of Thomas Creen instructions for Anson Cross's c1934 artist's aid Les holding the Vermeer's Camera
Vermeer's Camera - a dual camera obscura for artists
holding the full plate daguerreotype
Chromotype of a H&LE RR train on a trestle bridge

Les brought three items related to recent journal articles: a large chromotype print of a train on the old Hamilton & Lake Erie Railroad somewhere near Hamilton, Ontario; the rare full plate daguerreotype of reverend Thomas Creen; and a Vermeer's camera - one of the tools available to budding artists to compare their efforts on canvas to the actual scene for tone and composition. The device was invented by Anson Cross of Boothbay Harbor, Maine around 1934 to aid the students of his art school.


Ed Warner, who is an electrician by trade, loves old tools and making practical things in his workshop.

Tonight Ed brought his modified Graflex camera. It was originally a junker he picked up cheap at a garage sale. Ed explained how he carefully removed all the trim so he could separate the old damaged leather from the wooden shell. New leather was added and the trim replaced. The rear focal-plane shutter was removed and discarded.

The lens mount was modified to take standard 4 inch lens boards so Ed could use his Linhoff lenses with their built-in leaf shutter. He even made a tilt back following the concept used by Linhoff.

And by dropping the front bed - something he learned tonight - he can even use shorter focal length lenses for wide-angle work. While it is no longer a Graflex, the Edflex is a very usable camera.

Ed Warner and his 'Edflex" restored camera
showing the Linhoff inspired tilting back mechanism
Graflex logo on the brass body trim

Mike Robinson with his Newport Tower daguerreotype Close view of the Newport Tower daguerreotype Mike Robinson holding an unusual cased device in a close view it looks like a typical cased image. opened, the case reveals a Claude Lorraine glass

Mike Robinson brought back news from the recent Daguerreian Society seminar in Rhode Island. His one purchase was what first looked like a cased image that was seriously over exposed. In fact, it was a Claude Lorraine glass - a black concave glass used by artists to preview the tonal values in a prospective landscape view. The artist's aide is named after Claude Genee of Lorraine. Genee painted sepia toned landscape images - paintings not unlike the view seen in the Claude Lorraine glass. And as the official Daguerreotypist for the society, Mike brought in two views he took and processed at the seminar. The first was a Providence waterfront scene, with the second was an image of the Newport Tower, considered to be older than the first European colony established in Rhode Island.

Mike Robinson holding his Providence waterfront scene
closer view of the waterfront scene

Mark Singer holding his Rollei-16

Mark Singer was surprised to learn that Rollei, famous for their quality twin-lens reflex cameras, made miniature cameras too. He brought along a Rollei-16 made in the mid 1960s. Its f/2.8 35mm Tessar lens took images 12x17 mm in size on 16mm film.

closer view of the Rollei-16

Bob Wilson - on stereo accessories, was inadvertantly deferred to another evening. The teaser I used to advertise this program was a Zeiss Ikon stereo transposing box used to print glass stereo slides. To be correctly viewed, such slides must be printed with the left and right hand negatives transposed, which is done with the assistance of a transposing box. A number of manufacturers offered this accessory.

Zeiss Ikon stereo transposing box

The images were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 990 and adjusted and sized in Photoshop CS. Clicking some images will bring up an enlarged version. All images are copyright PHSC and may be used with permission. Questions? Please contact me at info@phsc.ca.

Robert Carter

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