great camera equals great photos… yeah, right

Argus C-44 ad in the 1958 LIFE

Toronto. The marketeers were at it again in the September 15, 1958 issue of LIFE magazine. Angus was busy marketing its latest marvel, the C-44 (C44) camera, replacing the awkward but loved old brick (C-3) and the follow-n C-4.

The suggestion was that a great camera like the C-44 would help you develop your skills and in no time you would be taking great photographs, using its wide angle and telephoto lenses along with the special turret viewer accessory.

A tip of the hat to George Dunbar for suggesting the C-44 advertisement.


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Photo Cuba 2020 with Simon Bell

moderator Simon Bell

Toronto. PHSC member and past president (etc.) Les Jones sent me a note regarding a photo workshop  in Cuba next January.

Les writes, in part, “… we like Cuba & have never been to Santiago de Cuba area. Air & hotel & food for one week is around $900 !!!!  with Sunwing DIRECT …”. Les goes on to say the workshop is another $1,000 dollars and hosted by author, photographer and  PHSC speaker, Simon Bell.

Looks like a great vacation and workshop for anyone photographically inclined.




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who needs Photoshop, anyway?

Photoshop in 1958??

Toronto. A few days back, my friend, George Dunbar, sent me this picture from the Miscellany column, page 96 of the August 18th, 1958 issue of LIFE magazine. The photo shows how careful framing can trick the eye – just like Photoshop can decades later on a whole new technology (digital).

In this case, it was purported to be in-camera magic, not the more common darkroom type of which all those of a certain age can verify, often from personal experience.

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WCPHA newsletter for October 2019

Toronto. Well, it’s hard to imagine but another month is over and 2019 is on life support as we look forward to year 2020 – a reminder of perfect vision :-). My good friend, editor Bob Lansdale sent me the latest newsletter issued by the folks out west at the Western Canada Photographic Historical association (WCPHA).

I was pleased to see Tonchi’s fair is noted as well as a tribute to Vancouver photographer Fred Herzog.

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Vincent Fournier exhibition

Black Helmet – Fournier

Toronto. Next month (October 3 – November 3) Galerie GADCOLLECTION is featuring “Past Forward“. Vincent Fournier is a French photographer born in 1970. If you happen to be in Europe this fall, drop in at GADCOLLECTION in Paris and take in this exhibition.

You may even find a photograph or two to add to your collection or brighten up your walls!

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winning at all cost

bridge over troubled waters…

Toronto. George Dunbar sent me this photograph from the Miscellany column (p 98) of the September 1, 1958 issue of Life magazine.  Three young Japanese boys “pretend” to hold up rails as a train passes over head, its wheels rumbling just inches from their fingers. The boys are terrified – and rightly so! Buuuut the photo did win first prize back in 1958…

Certainly a stunt not for the faint of heart, especially those in front of the camera.

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Jenna Hobbs, Edmonton Photographer

Jenna Hobbs’s selfie of her and her five children at home…

Toronto. I was pleased to read in Thursday’s Globe that Edmonton photographer, Jenna Hobbs of the Hobbs Photography Studio was a finalist for the Luxembourg Art prize. Congratulations and we hope you win big time!

Jenna and her sister-in-law Aimee operate the studio from the family farm. Take a look at the  fabulous photographs the two create.

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silvery moon

The Print- Basic Photo3 – Ansel Adams (New Edition)

Toronto. “by the light of the silvery moon” goes a line in a very old song. Ansel Adams made a photograph in 1941 called “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico“.  It was so popular he made thousands of prints and at auction today, one print is approaching a million dollars in value.

Adams was a practitioner of large cameras and landscapes. He was also a creator of the famous Zone System for black and white (monochrome) negatives and prints as well as an author of popular photographic processing books such as “The Print – Basic Photo 3” released in 1968. It was one of five books in the series. I bought my copy of the fifth printing (1971) in Boston in September 1977.

Adams was a great photographer, teacher, and author. I first saw Moonrise in 1970 in the Time-Life book “The Camera”, the first in T-L’s series on photography. A rather imperfect version of Moonrise is shown below – Time-Life ran the picture across the book’s gutter.

Moonrise- Hernandez, New Mexico (1941) by Ansel Adams

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darkroom dreamin on a winter’s day

Nude 1936 – Print by Cole Weston

Toronto. To paraphrase the Mamas and Papas 1966 song, “California Dreamin” – and it’s not winter yet.

In the days of film, all the magic took place in the darkroom under the dim glow of the ruby or later dirty orange bulb/filter with soft music gently playing in the background.

The camera let you choose the lighting, subject and frame. The film determined if it would be monochrome (B&W), colour negative, or transparency. ISO (ASA), shutter and aperture would generally determine proper formation of the image on the negative. The film could be developed in total darkness using a light-tight rubberized bag or a special day light loading tank. But it was in the gloom of the darkroom where the true artist shone.

The image for this post is the cover of the book “Darkroom 2” by Lustrum press and edited by Jain Kelly. Both Darkroom (1977) and Darkroom 2 (1978) contain essays and illustrations by well-known photographers of the mid 20th century. The post image, Nude 1936, was taken by Edward Weston. Weston’s son Cole printed this version years later and described his process in the Darkroom 2 book. Continue reading

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a colourful addition to the family

Kodacolor announced in June 30th, 1958 LIFE ad

Toronto. Kodacolor first hit the retailers in 1942. By 1958 the use of 35mm cameras forced Kodak to offer the venerable colour negative film for prints in 35mm camera format and cassettes,

Kodak initially charged for processing when you bought the film. A USA decision in the early 1950s went against Big Yellow Father splitting developing the film from the price of the film, opening the door to other companies both large and small to do developing using Kodak’s chemistry or formulae.

After creating 35mm cassettes, Kodacolor was short lived as the name changed with increased speed to Kodacolor-X and then Kodacolor II and so on.

My sincere thanks to PHSC member George Dunbar for alerting me to this advertisement in the June 30th, 1958  issue of  LIFE magazine. On page 58, just after the Brigette Bardot article (A Lot More Than Meets the Eye 🙂 and before the Parkay Margarine and Shell Oil  ads .

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