Photographic Canadiana 49-2

Photographic Canadiana 49-2 cover with green trim (actual colour profile not included to reduce file size)

Toronto. This is our latest issue by editors, David Bridge and Louise Freyburger. David promises another issue around year end.

Members WITH an email address AND who are subscribed to our MailChimp list have received this informative 16 page issue via pdf already. This issue is Photographic Canadiana 49-2 dated July-August-September  2023. Important: Please note that MailChimp does not send unsubscribed/cleaned addresses on our list any of our notices or journal issues.

This is another fine issue assembled, augmented, and produced by our editors. This issue covers “Hand Coloured Photographs: Art or Craft, Commerce or Larceny?– by David J. Kenny”, “Commerce and Larceny in the 1950s – by David Bridge”, “Washing camera bags – by Louise Freyburger”, “The Story Behind The Picture: Water Pictures – by Jeff Ward”and “A Zoom Pinhole Camera? – by David Bridge”.

Please drop me a line at if you are a member and haven’t received notice of any particular issue from volume 48, or 49  of Photographic Canadiana in pdf format. Hard copy versions of the journal are no longer printed. This allows us to use colour photos and vary the number of pages.

Not a member? Easy-peasy, just break out your favourite plastic (VISA, MasterCard, etc.), follow the rules at the upper right of this page and sign up via PayPal (no PayPal account needed – we will pay the modest fee). Membership is an incredible bargain. Period!

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hi fi photos

in this old 1954 advertisement Kodak extolls the virtues of its line of wratten filters

Toronto. In the days of film – especially orthochromatic  B&W, filters on camera were used to improve contrast in a scene. After panchromatic film became the norm, the filters could be used to create negatives and photographs that were closer to the natural range of brightness as seen by the human eye/brain.

Kodak marketed its wratten filters and explained in detailed ads how every effort was taken to make them high quality. Many high end camera makers sold filters branded by them to fit their expensive lenses while companies like Ednalite offered a cheap alternative for the economy minded.

This elaborate emphasis on filters seems to have ended with polarizing filters that could be carefully rotated to eliminate glare spots and vary the degree of contrast offered. Various aids helped the photographer ‘see’ the effect of the filter from flipping them up 180 degrees (to view the effect through a viewfinder) to using a reference post so the eye could see the change before the filter was added to the lens and rotated.

Nowadays with digital cameras and smartphones allowing so many post exposure adjustments using apps and computer software, filter use has slowly faded into history. George Dunbar has earned a big thank you here for once again spotting an historic advertisement and sharing it with us.

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take ’em … make ’em

1954 ad shows a way to use a camera between snap shot sessions

Toronto. Smartphone users likely never bothered with film, photo paper, gooey darkroom stuff, etc. But at one time it was the only way to take and make photos.

For the frugal amongst us back then, photographic manufacturers from time to time offered ways to combine both camera and enlarger so one device served both functions.

Turn the (camera/enlarger) head to face a wall and really big (area) papers can be used.  Turn the head back down, add a bellows or extension tube set plus film back and the ‘enlarger’ becomes a 1:1 copy camera!

The advent of a cold light head made such combination gadgets more practical than ever. This ad by Graflex shows their way mid last century to make a camera/enlarger combination for the frugal minded photographer.

A hearty thank you goes to good friend George Dunbar for sourcing and sharing this bit of photo history from the October, 1954 issue of Popular Mechanics!

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the one you have with you

Taken by Brian Matiash this month on an iPhone 15 Pro Max

Toronto. Smartphone cameras keep improving. Florida photographer Brian Matiash writes a blog newly christened, “Lightroom Everywhere“. In his very first article, “Smartphone Photography Apologetics“, he confesses that he has used his iPhone camera as his ‘mobile’ camera since 2008.

I must agree with Brian. I too use my little iPod Touch camera routinely as it is always with me. The tiny camera gives un-cropped images equivalent to a 35mm lens on a 35mm film camera. The modest 8 megapixel images are very good IF attention is paid to framing and lighting. Modest post adjustment sharpens an image and reduces noise. As brian points out you can make modest corrections to lighting by post adjustments but not to subject/framing.

Have a read and see how photographers in the future might view cameras and technology. Remember current items may become historical items in 50 years or more … The equipment changes but the fundamentals do not.

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exploring history

a photograph from the NOTL Museum taken in 1917 during a visit by Paderewski

Toronto. George Dunbar enjoys writing to editors. I can remember the first letter I saw in the Globe and Mail many years ago. In this particular case, George wrote to the editor about the Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL) Museum’s article in the column “Exploring History” – [in the NOTL weekly, The Lake Report].

In his email, George writes, “This 1917 photograph featuring Jan Paderewski appeared in a Niagara-on-the-Lake weekly, The Lake Report, Nov.16.

“The following week, a letter-to-the-editor was published which indicates a certain connection to your loyal correspondent.

“I mention this only to illustrate how wonderful it can be to discover that some memories are refreshed by even hundred-year-old photographs.”

Above left is the photograph George mentions. Click on it to see his letter to the editor. This article suggests that newspaper archives are another source of material for photo historians. Browse your local newspaper(s) archives today.


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where the big boys are

April 1954 ad for Kodak’s 620/828 Chevron

Toronto. Post war serious photographers migrated to the 2-1/4 inch format on 120 roll film. Instead of 120, Kodak had a proprietary 620 version.

The short lived Chevron (1953-1956) was Kodak’s high end camera replacing the massive Medalist which was first released in 1941. As an homage to the tight fisted and amateur brigade, an adaptor allowed 828 film to be used in the Chevron.

The ad shown appeared in the April, 1954 issue of Popular Mechanics. It is shown here courtesy of George Dunbar who sent the ad along after his research spotted it. The Chevron was a classic, short lived design created and made on this side of the Atlantic.

Note: The post title is a riff on the title of the song , “Where the Boys Are“, released by Connie Francis in 1961.

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the long and the short of it

Frank Wendt captures the tallest man in the world, Capt Geo Auger (in 1905) then living in Lansing MI

Toronto. In the late 1800s, dime store museums  all had so called freak shows. The people featured in these shows often frequented nearby studios. One such studio at 229 the Bowery in east New York City, was operated by Chas Eisenmann.

His story and photos were featured in the late Michael Mitchell‘s book, “Monster of a Guilded Age“. When Eisenmann called it a day in the Bowery, Frank Wendt took over his studio and practice for a few years before moving to Boonton  NJ.  The image shown at left was taken at his Boonton studio.

This photo was spotted by my good friend, George Dunbar, in his tireless pursuit of photographic history.  George refers to this link in a blog called, “Dull Tool Dim Bulb“. The info on Wendt’s operation of the old Eisenmann’s studio is from an article here.

NB. here’s the theme from Cheers, an old TV series (1982-1993). To me it is appropriate since another Wendt (George Wendt) was one of the two ‘barflies’ at Cheers. Also Cheers was shot in a bar just down the street in Boston from the original “Cheers” (saw both the TV version and the original years ago).

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a different flashlight …

Graflex advertises its Stroboflash III electronic flash in the mid 1950s

Toronto. In the 1950s, one of the big fresh eggs was the portable electronic flash. Mind you the cost would buy a lifetime-plus of flash bulbs and guns for most serious or beginning amateurs.

In the December, 1955 issue of Popular Mechanics, Graflex advertised its ‘new’ StroboFlash III with a 200 watt-second flash. The extremely brief flash was the equivalent of daylight and once connected, simple to use and reliable.

In any case, as electronic flashes became smaller and cheaper they became firstly hot shoe accessories, then built-ins. Today’s smartphone cameras have an even tinier built-in flash that can be set to on/off/auto. The huge and heavy external strobes of yesterday are but a memory now – brought to mind when we see ads like this.

Thanks is due George Dunbar for sharing this touch of history (nearly 70 years ago) with us.

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combatting deep fakes

The Leica M11-P camera takes photos with built-in content credentials – courtesy of IEEE Spectrum article

Toronto. Unless you have being living ‘off the grid’, you have heard about artificial intelligence (AI) and deep fakes. Even TV programs have addressed the issue where a ‘deep fake’ is made by using images of a person and possession(s) to be combined by AI into something that never happened. This also happens with stills which are addressed in the following.

A recent article in the IEEE Spectrum by Matthew Smith called, “First camera with built-in content credentials verifies photos’ authenticity” discusses how credentials and hardware (cameras) are beginning to combat this sinister situation for stills. The first camera to offer this protection is the digital Leica M11 shown here.

This reminds me of the old Mad magazine stories about  “Spy vs. Spy” where each action sparks a counter action (or today’s battled between hackers and computer counter action).

Our thanks to George Dunbar for spotting and sharing this article on this very modern issue.


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people, places, things

People, Places, Things exhibition at Stephen Bulger Gallery

Toronto. The Stephen Bulger Gallery is hosting an exhibit from November 18, 2023 to December 23, 2023 of people the gallery represents and more.

Stephen writes, “Our exhibition will contain highlights of work made by the artists and photographers the gallery represents, as well as a selection of secondary market items owned by the gallery, and the many consignors who entrust us with finding new homes for the photographs that have enriched their lives.

“The collection of photographs spanning over 150 years includes works covering a variety of genres, processes, and intent. Acknowledging photography’s ability to provide masterworks at many levels of quality, photographs will be priced to fit a variety of budgets. Photographs will be available to purchase and collect before the exhibition closes in recognition of the holiday season.”

For those PHSC members in southern Ontario who collect photographs, this will be a great opportunity to augment their collections.

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