Camerama coming this fall

Sept 23, 2018
Camerama Show

Toronto. Did you hear the news? Gary Perry’s next show will be held on September 23rd 2018 at the Edward Hotel in North York (That’s Toronto for all you out of town folk). Click on the icon at left to read and print Gary’s poster with all the details.

I bumped into Gary at the July 15th PHSC Trunk Sale and purloined one of his flyers which I scanned and posted at left.

Not sure about going yet? Well then, hop over to Youtube and watch Mark Holtze’s video from the spring Camerama show which he uses for his talk on the video editing process.

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a hoot at the boot – our 8th trunk sale

some rare woodies
at the trunk sale

Toronto. Bob Lansdale gave me a call last week to see if I was going to the trunk sale Sunday. I agreed to go and Bob suggested if we arrived around 10am that would be great. I picked Bob up shortly after 9:30am and off we went.

Arriving at the Trident Hall just before 10:00, we split up to look around. Lots of goodies, lots of vendors and good parking by the time we arrived, mid-way between opening and closing times for the show. The rare woodies above left were part of a collection of some 600 pieces a chap had bought and was in the process of selling. He was afraid the cameras were fragile, so I shot through the case glass, reflections and all. One of the first vendors I spotted was my good friend Gary Perry of Camerama fame. Gary is a PHSC member and a regular at our fairs.

I met many of the executive out on the bright sunny day under the trees along the front of the hall. Clint was there by the entrance with some goodies and a careful eye to collect space fees for the society. Yvette brought along her little three-legged beagle and both enjoyed the excitement and browsing. I saw her departing with a trio of 20×24 inch darkroom trays. David Bridge and his wife Louise Freyburger came by, While Louise  spoke with Bob Lansdale (she is an assistant editor for the journal and runs the PHSC’s Facebook page) I chatted with David who had some chemical jugs in hand for his darkroom. Wayne Gilbert had the membership materials and lots of professional gear he was selling along with boxes of small bits like B&S heads, release cables, etc. Even Abraham Vinegar, up from Detroit, had a spot.

I met many other people including John Young’s son visiting from Williams Lake, BC. His late father owned a camera store here in Toronto on Yonge Street near Queen. John Kantymir dropped in from Port Colborne on the Lake Erie end of the Welland Canal and as usual had many rare items for sale including a huge Kodak Folder that seemed to make 5×7 contact prints; a beautiful art deco Kodak in black and silver stripes; an Ansco Memo camera which took 35mm film and was sold beginning in 1927 while its design date, clouded in time, may have preceded the 1924 introduction of the famous Leica; and a strange European camera that snapped its lens cap open just before it took a shot. The camera  was pristine thanks to the tatty case it was housed in.

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Tash meets LBP & Co in the 1960s.

Roy snaps the L B Pearson
Liberal Cabinet

Toronto. The well documented Canadian photographer Roy Tash visited Ottawa to record the illustrious, Nobel-prize winning Prime Minister Lester B Pearson and his cabinet. Pearson managed  to get our Canadian flag authorized in spite of the endless debates by the opposition PCs and their leader John G Diefenbaker. In addition to the flag, Pearson’s legacy lives on in the new name of the Toronto International Airport, the Toronto Pearson Airport, and in many social programs his minority government initiated to placate its NDP support.

Roy Tash (1898 – 1988) was born in Brooklyn NY and moved to Toronto about 1919 becoming a well known Canadian photographer last century.  After his death in December, 1988, we published an article in our journal vol 14-5 written by the late Bill Belier, our past president and editor who interviewed Mr Tash’s daughter.  Bill had known Roy personally  and arranged an interview with him in the fall of 1988 but Tash was too ill by then and died a few months later. Tash and his wife are buried nearby in Park Lawn  cemetery, Bloor and Park Lawn, Toronto.

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30th Daguerreian Society Symposium

Daguerreian Society

Toronto. Many of our members are also members of the Daguerreian Society. For many years Bob Lansdale was the official photographer of both societies. Dr Mike Robinson of Toronto is past president of the two societies. The next Daguerreian Society Symposium is planned for September 13 – 16, 2018 in NYC.

The keynote speaker is Grant Romer who spoke with us in February 2002 about Daguerreotypes. The speakers in no particular order include Edith Cuerrier, a past PHSC member and author of an article on George Eastman in our December 2002 journal Photographic Canadiana. The other speakers named so far are Denise Bethel, Sean Corcoran, and Jan Herman.

Details of the 2017 conference are shown here. Go to the NY Photography Fair page to register or get further details. A special thanks to Bob Lansdale for alerting me to the Symposium.

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the times they are a-changin’

Should I Take a Picture?

Toronto. The Bob Dylan song “The Times They Are a-Changin’” appeared in the mid 1960s on the same named album.  And looking at photography and the dynamic shift from film to digital is so appropriate to Dylan’s song.

George Dunbar sent me this remarkable shot of smart phones and digital cameras taking photos of the Obamas –  seemingly far more charming and loved than The Donald. All you see is a sea of digital screens and hands held overhead … Changin’ indeed!

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Snoping out fauxtography

Melting in a heat wave?

Toronto. Was this heat wave REALLY so hot that cars melted in Arizona? Does the claim pass the smell test? Yeah,right!

For many years the Snopes site has helped us mere mortals perform a decent smell test. Our customers occasionally sent on dubious email messages purporting to one thing or another that seemed off. A quick check on Snopes usually confirmed the claim to be fake or valid along with a reasonable explanation. We know that in photography – especially since the days of darkroom enlarging … and Photoshop – that not everything you see is true. This usually is done for a hoax or by politicians to sway the votes of the unwitting public.

My thanks to John Linsky for reminding me of Snopes and their valuable service in this day and age of chicanery and fake news. The cars? Yeah they did melt down in Arizona, but not from the sun – it was an intense fire nearby that melted the vehicles 🙂

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something’s wrong with this picture

Philippe Halsman and
wife Yvonne Moser
in 1951 portrait

Toronto. In 1992, the late Glenn Frey, released the album Strange Weather. Included was the song Love in the 21st Century which includes the above line. Frey was the front man and writer for the dysfunctional rock band the Eagles. When they disbanded in 1980, Frey went on his own. His songs are familiar to viewers of many Hollywood action movies as well as the Eagles and Frey’s own albums and singles.

The late Philippe Halsman was a  professional NYC studio photographer perhaps best known for his photographs of painter Salvador Dali. His alternate choice of camera was a TLR. In this photo sourced by George Dunbar, Halsman captures himself and his wife in a whimsical portrait. But look closely! All is not as it seems …


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Ernest Brown, photographer (1877- 1951)

Ernest Brown
of Edmonton AB
and gear c1892

Toronto. Ernest Brown was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the bleak northern English town famous for its coal mines many decades ago, on September 8th, 1877, or so the book by Derek Hayes called “Canada: An Illustrated History notes based on an entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia published in print and online by the famous Mel Hurtig.

In 1892, Brown photographed three fellow photographers in Mission BC while they were busy snapping the native Indians performing “The Crucifixion“. His fellow snappers, from left, are William Manson Boone [William Hanson Boorne], Ernest G May [Boorne’s cousin and business partner in Calgary], and Charles W Mathers [who later bought the Boorne and May business in Calgary].

The first volume of Photographic Canadiana, issue 7 , in an excerpt from the  “Canadian Photographic Journal” notes “An Early Western Photographer” mentioning Boorne and May in Calgary.


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Alice Austen of Staten Island, photographer

Alice Austen c1892
at Clear Comfort, Staten Island

Toronto. George Dunbar dropped me a note the other day about an early American woman photographer who was discovered by a wider audience only near the end of her life. Like Vivian Maier, she embraced photography as a hobby, but took her photographs more like a professional.

Austen lived a life of luxury in her parent’s estate, a vast mansion and grounds on Staten Island called Clear Comfort. Never marrying, she spent a life of leisure and photography in the company of friends until the market crash of 1929 when she was wiped out. Shown here at 75 years old, Austen died a pauper a year later in 1952.

A fine biography of her and her work was published in 1976. Called Alice’s World: The Life and Photography of an American Original, Alice Austen, 1866 – 1952, it was written by author Ann  Novotny. Austen made only about 7,000 glass plate negatives over her life-time, but they offer an insightful record of a life of wealth in the NYC area, and Staten Island in particular.

Just a year before her death, LIFE magazine did a seven page essay on Austen with many of her photographs in the September 24th, 1951 issue beginning on page 137 of that issue (by the way, you can read the entire issue on the above link courtesy of Google. Use the little dropdown menu – top right on my browser – which says Front Cover to link to the article on page 137 entitled “The Newly Discovered Picture World of Alice Austen” ).

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freezing motion at slow shutter speeds


Baby Brownie in NYC
LIFE Sep 17, 1951

Toronto. In the days of film, photographers used a trick to freeze a subject into sharp focus – scanning.  An article in a very old issue of LIFE magazine (Sept 17, 1951, p 121) shows the effect at a ball game using the primitive shutter in a box camera (about 1/30th second top speed).

The article shows how a NYC photographer, Hy Peskin, ditches his professional gear for a cheap $3 Baby Brownie (This is an older model, Hy used one like I had as a kid). Hy took two shots, first panning the runner as he hit first base – runner sharp everything else blurry. Then second, holding the tiny camera still – base runner blurry, all else more or less sharp.

Another trick, often used (by me and many others) is to snap the shot just as the subject reached peak motion – e.g. a child on a swing. The subject slows, stops, then accelerates back. With a bit of skill, the photo is snapped just as the subject stops and reverses direction.

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