Hats off to Larry

Lauro Boccioletti
Photographer and founder, PHSC

Toronto. On a summery day in July, 2004, I got a bad news phone call from John. Larry had just passed away. He left a big hole to be filled in the PHSC that fall.

All this came rushing back when George Dunbar sent me some photos of local photographers via email. I had been a good friend of Larry for many years. He made a strong, rich cup of coffee and I used to tease him that it spoke with authority.

Larry became a photographer in Welland, Ontario. He taught photography both in NYC at the New York Institute of Photography and in the GTA at Centennial College with fellow PHSC member Fred Hunt. Larry was also a scuba diver, barbershopper (sang in a quartet), camera collector, exhibitor, movie prop house, B&W film processor and printer, auctioneer, and all around entrepreneur.

I had the pleasure of visiting him at his summer camp one warm and cheery day. The Harmony Ranch Recreation Club was founded by local  barbershoppers.  The visit was the  occasion of his marriage to Julie. She met Larry when she sold him the house on Jane Street.

In the fall of 1973, Larry met with John Linsky and Morris Fischtein to discuss the formation of a camera collecting society and in May of 1974 the Photographic Historical Society of Canada came into being. Larry was member #1, president a few times, auctioneer, and regular exhibitor at the annual fairs. The society objectives were to promote cameras, history, and images, especially Canadian. It was always Larry’s objective to establish a camera museum in the GTA.

His collection was eclectic. Any duplicates or items no longer of interest were sold at one of our photographica-fairs. I still have a few things he sold. He came up with the fair tag line “The Big One” which I made on an Amiga for printing posters and bookmarks (its still in use today). Around our tenth anniversary, he established two additional fairs – the annual fall event of the PHSC, and his yard sale which we now host each summer as a trunk sale. He was a well known source of flash bulbs (I once kidded him that he could advertise them as “only used once” – of course every one was fresh and unused).

Each year he headed to the Bahamas to get in some scuba diving. In later years, Larry was diagnosed with kidney disease and eventually had to accept dialysis. Not only was the treatment time consuming, it required administration of strong blood thinners, leading ultimately to his death at 77 years – before a donor kidney was found for him. The president of the PHSC at the time, Mike Robinson, wrote an obituary in his President’s Message for issue 30-2 dated September/October 2004.


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