Letter from Manitoba

PHSC member and Collector Ed James of Manitoba

Toronto. We pride ourselves in having members across Canada and world-wide. Ed James has been a member for many years and is a devout collector as the following photo suggests.

In the Oct/Nov 2015 edition of the magazine Our Canada, Ed wrote and illustrated an article titled Every Camera Tells a Story. Ed generously sent us the article and some photographs for use in our publications. Our Canada is a publication of Reader’s Digest and has both print and on-line versions including an iPad app from Apple.

As you can see here, Ed has a truly impressive collection. He wrote that after the article appeared he received many calls Canada wide offering him items for his collection. One of the strangest was a View-Master camera and accessories!

Continue reading

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CHARLES GAGNON A Survey of Photographs

Gardenia – Montreal 1974 – by Michikos Gagnon courtesy Stephen Bulger Galleries

Toronto.  Stephen Bulger Galleries are presenting this exhibition of Montrealer Charles  Gagnon’s photographs including photographs taken with an SX-70 and a Minox!

Exhibition Dates: May 13 – June 17, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 13, 2-5pm

Online Preview: beginning May 5th at ffotoimage.com

From the press release by Stephen Bulger Galleries, “The Stephen Bulger Gallery is pleased to present ‘A Survey of Photographs‘, a retrospective of work by Canadian artist Charles Gagnon. Continue reading

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Through a Lens Darkly

Through a Lens Darkly – documentary – at the AGO’s Jackman Hall May 10 and 11 at 7:00 PM

Toronto. The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is a popular venue here in Toronto and its staff are both a source of PHSC members and PHSC supporters. On this coming May 10th and 11th at 7:00 to 9:00 pm the AGO will host Thomas Allen Harris’s documentary “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People. Tickets are available at the above link.

The AGO announcement says in part, “Inspired by the book Reflections in Black by photo historian Deborah Willis, the film features the works of esteemed photographic artists Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Anthony Barboza, Hank Willis Thomas, Coco Fusco, Clarissa Sligh, James Van Der Zee, Gordon Parks, and many others.”.

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Lomography’s Neptune Convertible Art Lens System

The Neptune Convertible Art Lens System by Lomography

Toronto. I received an email a couple of days ago from Katherine Phipps of Lomography. The email announced the Kick Starter program to create a convertible lens system called the Neptune Convertible Art Lens System.

You may wonder about convertible lenses. They date back over a century and a half ago to the mid 1800s when the design was used to give added focal lengths to the recently invented daguerreotype cameras.

In the middle of the last century the design was used to add a medium wide angle and a medium telephoto lens to a leaf shutter style better quality none interchangeable lens camera. In today’s market you can buy them to optically change the focal length of your smart phone’s camera.

And of course Lomography’s Neptune System fits any modern interchangeable lens camera from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, etc – even my NEX-6. The system even fits a film camera for those who still shoot film…

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Kodak Medalist Camera in 1940s

Kodak Medalist. Click to see Pop Photography ad for 1944

Toronto. George Dunbar emailed me more old ads the other day. This one is from the recently expired Popular Photography back in March 1944. At the time, camera design in the USA reached its peak with examples like this massive, leaf shutter, roll film, art deco design by Kodak.

The best article on the Medalist is found on this site by Colten Allen. Kodak made a design decision to use its 620 roll film spools for the Medalist instead of the more universal and professional 120 spools. The media is the same, but the 620 has slightly smaller diameter ends attached to a slightly shorter and thinner core. Most professional (high end) roll film cameras used 120 leaving the Kodak-only 620 film to the cheaper amateur cameras. By designing the Medalist to use the 620 rolls, Kodak controlled both camera and film sales.

In summing up, Colten writes, “Of all the cameras I’ve owned and used, the Medalist is one of the most interesting, coolest looking, and best built. As a photo making tool, it is exceptional. The 100/3.5 Ektar lens is capable of producing very high quality and unique images, and the build quality should ensure decades more of use. My camera is now nearly 70 years old, and working perfectly. Continue reading

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High End Camera Auction May 29th – Toronto

A Leica M4-P for auction this month at A H Wilkens in Toronto.

Toronto. Lily Singh sent me an email yesterday evening. A.H. Wilkens auction house in Toronto is holding an auction of high end camera equipment on Monday, May 29th, 2017 (viewing of lots on Sunday the 28th).

Have a look at the web site – you may find something as either a piece of user equipment or an item for your collection. The auction house is on the south side of Queen St East, just after Ontario Street and before Berkeley Street.

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Remember the Polaroid Cameras?

Polaroid Land Camera 95

Toronto. Edwin Land first offered the Polaroid Land “picture in a minute” Camera after WW2, a time when it took a week for the average person to receive prints from his photographs. I gave my dad a Polaroid in the 1980s but he soon stopped using it after discovering it took a few shots at about a dollar each to set the exposure and focus. Lots of Polaroids were used briefly and discarded, especially after the same day processing shops sprung up.

When I worked in Dorval at Bell’s data centre, a friend who knew I collected cameras dropped by one day to give me a couple of tartan boxes. Inside were a Polaroid camera and an accessory back. Ernie said he no longer had any use for them. I placed the boxes on a shelf by my desk and forgot about the gift. The next day, they were gone. Stolen in a guarded building! I gave them little further thought at the time since Polaroid cameras had a low value.

The other day, my friend and fellow PHSC member John Linsky sent me an email saying he had been given two old Polaroids, and did some research as a result. Continue reading

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The Virtual Reference Library

Revenge of Analog – Virtual Public Library

Toronto. I heard on the television news last night that one victim of the Wynne government’s success in “balancing the budget” was the Toronto Public Library (TPL). Funding was arbitrarily cut and the TPL seems unable to accommodate such a cut between budgets.

One likely victim is the virtual reference library  (VRL) which relies upon posting scans and videos of sources  (photographs, documents, videos, etc.) held by the TPL. The government says in its defence that viewership of the VRL web site has been declining…

Sounds like the logic of my old school principal, god rest his soul, who, after recently arriving at our school, announced to his grade eight class that we marched so poorly that he decided to cut the daily marching music until we improved. Really?  I graduated to high school some months later without ever marching again to the thrilling sounds of  John Philip Sousa or the Colonel Bogey march.

NOTE: The next day (May 3rd, 2017), the Ontario government reversed its decision and said it will continue the TPL funding as in previous years.

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Helios Taranteau Exhibit

May 19 2017 in Toronto – four photographers

Toronto.  Chris McCallan sent me an email a few weeks back on April 12th that he was planning an exhibit of photographs here in Toronto featuring himself and other local photographers.

PHSC member Harold Staats sent me a followup email yesterday that the exhibit has come together. It will be held in east end Toronto at the Paint Cabin, 723 Gerrard St East (just  east of De Grassi) from 6 – 11 pm on May 18th, 2017.

Come out and support your local photographers! Continue reading

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Really, really fast camera

Fast film camera technique at Lund University in Sweden

Toronto. My friend and fellow PHSC member Russ Forfar enjoys scientific articles. Yesterday, Sunday morning, he sent me a link to Science Daily. In the Science Daily article the experiments of Sweden’s Lund University are described. Scientists there are using a clever light pulsing and algorithm technique to capture extremely fast chemistry and physics experiments.

Read the article and have a look at their YouTube presentation too.

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