Stephen Wilkes Exhibit in Paris

Santa Monica Pier, LA by Stephen Wilkes

Toronto. Galerie GADCOLLECTION in Paris, France is featuring an exhibition called “Day to Night“. The exhibit runs from October 12 to November 5th. The images in this exhibition are the work of Stephen Wilkes.

The following words (edited) are from the GADCOLLECTION web site:

American Stephen WILKES was born in 1957. He began to photograph when he was 12 years old, a passion which never left him. WILKES studied at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He graduated with a bachelor of science in photography. Specialized in communication, the school allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the media’s history and uses. He opened his studio in New York City in 1983 and has kept on photographing to this day.

WILKES photographs for commercials, publishers, himself and above all for others. His photos are made to be shown to the largest audience possible. They testify to a high degree of self-abnegation, so much so that he does not hesitate to dedicate his time and effort to photographic projects which he feels are important; works able to change our perception of the world; to provoke reactions. In 1998, a one-day assignment to the south side of Ellis Island led to a 5-year photographic project. This project resulted in a 2006 book called  Ghosts of Freedom. He did a photo and video study about this abandoned place – medical wards where immigrants were detained (they underwent tests there and were quarantined before being allowed to enter America). Broadly speaking, Stephen WILKES’ photos helped to move the lines. Thanks to his work, $6 million were provided to restore the south side of the island.

In a different approach, the recent series Day to night started in 2009. The work gathers in a single photograph the images captured during an entire day. A long and difficult work, each finished image sublimates landscapes and architectures, carefully chosen by Stephen WILKES. Each image in  this  tour de force requires a digital treatment of an average of 100 photos during a shooting session of over 24 hours. Some 1400 photos in all were taken for this project.

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Close-Up for nerds

Good Close-Up Reference

Toronto. Almost two decades later, in 1979, Lester Lefkowitz of NYC published this profusely illustrated soft cover text on the art of close-up photography. Lefkowitz has a masters degree in optics and is a practicing photographer. When he published this comprehensive AMPHOTO book, he was the Associate Director of Education at the International Center of Photography in New York City.  Even today you can visit his macro website and learn the about the techniques he uses.

A decade after it was published, I loaned it to our then editor, Ev Roseborough, himself a commercial photograph and owner of ER Associates Studio. In returning it to me, Ev included a brief note of thanks.

Ev said, ” Thank you! Very technical book, good reference. Some interesting sections”.

Like Otto Croy’s 1960 book, this one too is quite relevant in many ways in this digital era for those of us who relish closeup photography with a good technical understanding of the art.

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Keep your eye on the ball

How to use your Camera Close Up – O. R. Croy, The Focal Press 1961

Toronto. With a growing interest in close-up photography, in July of 1979 I bought a used copy of Dr Otto Croy’s  book Camera Close-up originally published in England and America by Focal Press of England in 1961. L. A. Mannheim translated the 1960 German book for the Focal Press.

This small book with its line drawings and monochrome plates gives excellent advice and guidance for the aspiring close-up photographer.

Much of the advice is still relevant in today’s digital world. When published the majority of book illustrations and photographs were monochrome.

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Between a rock and a hard place…

FULDY from Leica Manual 3rd Edition – 1938-9. Bottom slide shown upside down

Toronto. Close-up photography was generally used to close the gap between close photography – say a metre – and a low power microscope. On the 35mm frame the object was about 1/4 to 1/1  life size.

In the early 20th century, companies made technical cameras – ones with “double extension” bellows. With ground glass and glass plates or cut film, the photographer could successfully focus on a close-up subject and snap the image, using a good tripod or other stand, of course. I have one such camera made by Nagel before the company was bought out by Kodak in 1932 to make the famous Retina cameras.

In 1930, Leitz announced a model of the Leica with interchangeable lenses. This prompted Willard Morgan to consider ways to equip this interchangeable lens Leica with a ground glass for focusing. Metal extension tubes allowed the little Elmar lens to get closer to the subject.

He came up with a “Sliding Focusing Copy Attachment”, shortly thereafter made and marketed by Leitz NY as the FULDY. You can read about it here in the free pdf versions of the 2nd and 3rd editions of the Leica Manual.

I picked up my example of Willard’s marvellous FULDY on June 14, 1980 at the spring PHSC fair – a two day event, held at the Park Plaza II in Toronto, from Czaba Martoni of Ann Arbor MI. Some later models had a different code name.  A spring loaded arm became common to hold the camera in place (instead of the original’s lens ring).

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Tree planting in BC

Among Wild Horses – tree planting in British Columbia

Toronto. The previous post noted an exhibit at the Stephen Bulger Gallery which struck a chord with me. Apparently it did with George Dunbar too.

George writes, “Your latest item certainly caught my attention, Bob.

“My grandson Kyle, has been planting in BC for the last 3 years.

“He sent us this photo…………among wild horses”

As you may be aware, George is a retired industrial photographer for the mighty IBM and a frequent contributor to both this site and Urban Toronto. For, George provides many current images he has taken around the city.

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The Tree Planters at Stephen Bulger Gallery

Rita Leistner exhibit at Stephen Bulger Gallery

Toronto. Stephen Bulger, long a force in this city, announced the latest exhibit at his gallery.

The announcement states, “The Stephen Bulger Gallery is pleased to present ‘The Tree Planters’, our first solo exhibition of work by Canadian artist Rita Leistner.

“The Tree Planters

Exhibition Dates: October 21 – November 18, 2017
Reception for the Artist: Saturday, October 21, 6-9pm
Online Preview: beginning October 14 at
Panel Discussion: Wednesday November 8, 6-7:30pm (RSVP)
To RSVP please email or call the gallery at 416.504.0575

“Having planted over a half a million trees between 1983 and 1992, Leistner perceives this series as an homage of sorts, to all the Canadian tree planters; past, present, and future. Canadian tree planting is unique in the world and is entering its third generation. It has become an indelible part of our national identity, changing not only the geographic landscape of Canada, but also its cultural mindset. It is an essential contributor to Canada being the world leader in sustainable forest management, which all our futures depend on.”

The concept strikes a chord with me. In the spring of 1951 or 2 I spent my easter holidays as a tree planter of sorts. A bunch of us went to Minesing, near Springwater park to pull and tie pine seedlings to be planted nearby to replace trees cut down. This was part of a government reforestation project.

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The Giveaway Artist

Fred Cray – Giveaway artist of NYC

Toronto. George Dunbar spotted this NYT article and suggested that he too was tempted to try it.

Fred Cray is a New York photographer. For over ten years he has “hidden” his unique photos around the city – over 30,000 so far.

Have a read and consider the concept. Cray leaves his info on each numbered print. The newspaper article notes that some people have taken the time to reply to his generosity.

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Antique Photo Show in DC early next Spring

DC Show next March 11th – Click above icon for details

Toronto. Do you have a great urge to drop by Washington DC this spring and have a chat with the Donald? No?

Well, anyway, drop by Arlington Virginia on Sunday, March 11, 2018 and visit the popular and well known Antique photo, postcard, and camera show organized by PHSC member Tom Rall.

While I received Tom’s notice via Constant Contact (a service like MailChimp which we use), you can visit his company (Diverse Markets Management) at their web site.

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a projector for the common man

Smartphone Cardboard Projector by Luckies of London

Toronto.  Back on September 27th my friend George Dunbar suggested those who own a smartphone (most people) can now buy and make a projector. George wondered if we had heard of such a gadget. Short answer, no!

Since we are well into the digital age and most photographs are now taken with a smartphone, this project seems appropriate as a future historical item.

There is even a youtube video showing how the cardboard marvel from Luckies of London  is assembled. Brightness and sharpness depend on the smartphone used. The room must be very dark and the distance from the project to screen adjusted to balance brightness and sharpness.

Of course, if you tend to the cheap side, youtube also shows you how to make it with a couple of old shoe boxes…

Go wild!

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what’s new in photography for 1948-9?

Portrait of a little boy by Herman V Wall of Los Angeles CA. p81 of magazine. c1948

Toronto. My thanks to my good friend George Dunbar for tracking down this issue of Popular Photography, now nearly 70 years old!

On September 9th George writes, “Here’s a list that may interest PHSC members.

“It’s huge, illustrated and shows almost all of the photographic equipment that was available in 1948 – still & movie cameras, exposure meters, lighting equipment, enlargers, darkroom items and much more.

“This [October] 1948 issue of Popular Photography contains it all.”

The directory of what was offered in 1948-9 in the U.S.A.  begins at page 112 of this issue. Not surprisingly at the time, almost all pages except the front cover are black and white. a few pages are spot colour (mostly using red) and the odd page or two of advertising is in colour.

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