nothin’ but blue skies

Fairchild Aerial camera in action per Pop Photography ad the Summer of 1944

Toronto. Aerial cameras made many images for maps and other critical analysis functions. This camera was manufactured by a company founded in 1927 as the Fairchild Camera and Instrument company. After WW2, when transistors began to take on the functions of vacuum tubes, the company founded (1957) a division called Fairchild Semiconductor. This division became the major money maker for the firm.

The company was one of about 70 created by Sherman Fairchild, a one time holder of the largest number of IBM shares. His story itself makes interesting reading (I once flew in a Fairchild F27 aircraft). Fairchild aerial cameras were the best and most innovative cameras of that genre at the time.

My thanks to George Dunbar for sharing this advertisement for the Fairchild cameras used during WW2. The ad appears in the July, 1944 issue of Popular Photography magazine. You may recall that the late George Hunter first talked at one of our meetings (January 2003), bringing with him a well used aerial camera.

Note: The post title is a line from the December, 1926 song “Blue Skies” by Irving Berlin. The expression ‘Blue Skies’ means things are doing good and going well with no clouds in sight.

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weegee the famous

Speed Graphic ad in the January, 1945 issue of Popular Photography.

Toronto. Anyone out there who hasn’t heard of Weegee? Arthur Fellig and his trusty Speed Graphic haunted the streets of New York City mid last Century. He was busy beating cops and firemen to the scene and taking newspaper shots of the gristly findings – or heart touching rescues as shown here.

When not beating the men in blue (or smoke eaters) to the scene, Weegee was busy pounding his own drum. He seemed to be by far the most famous user of Graphic cameras.

My thanks to friend and fellow PHSC member, George Dunbar, for sharing this touching ad on the great Graflex camera line in the January 1945 issue of Popular Photography, just months before our most horrific war ever was finished in Europe and then in Japan.


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which twin has the Toni …

Amphoto 1973 facsimile

Toronto. Late last century was the hey-day for camera and image collecting. Bargains abounded. New books were published. Old books once destined for garbage became valuable items. Advertisements and other ephemera took on a pricier existence. Old, dusty publications were worthy of reprinting as ‘facsimile’ editions promising a return well beyond the cost of printing and augmenting the original.

This particular facsimile (shown here) is one of many reprinted by Amphoto late last century. “Photographic Pleasures” is a comical look at the new fad of photography back in 1855. The original is written by Edward Bradley under the pen name “Cuthbert Bede”. This 1973 reprint includes a modern (now nearly 50 years old …) introduction by the then editor of Amphoto facsimile editions, Peter Pollack.

Note: The post title was a catch phrase for a well advertised home hair ‘perm’ treatment in the 1940s/50s. I can remember hearing their jingle on the radio and later on our then new television set. Like so many things back then, Toni was an American product.

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look, ma – no hands …

Toronto. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a zoom lens was invented with the zoom controlled by electricity? Smartphone could off these tiny marvels and a light finger motion could shift the tiny zoom lens’s focal length.

PHSC member and friend Russ Forfar sent me this intriguing article from Science Daily from Cornell and published June 10th, 2021, “Novel liquid crystal metalens offers electric zoom“. Cornell researchers collaborated with Samsung on this project. The technique was initially seen as a design for “augmented reality glasses” where saving space and weight is a priority.

The above thumbnail is from an article on the MDPI website title “Miniaturized Metalens Based Optical Tweezers on Liquid Crystal Droplets for Lab-on-a-Chip Optical Motors“.

While these articles discuss experimental ideas, the result may well be common place articles in a decade or two and history in another half century. Even forty years ago, the late Douglas Adams in his “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” predicted a pocket sized electronic encyclopedia. Today, such ereaders  are common place containing hundreds of books (my iPod Touch is an example).

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the summer of ’44

Graflex ad in June 1944 issue of Popular Photogaphy

Toronto. WW2 was winding down the summer of 1944 and would end in Allied victory the following spring/summer.

Graflex gave a novel twist to the war effort and the American fighting men suggesting the average American was Part-Owner of cameras his government purchased for use in the war.

Further, that the average American could become a sole owner of a Graflex after the end of the war, buying it with the proceeds of no longer needed war bonds!

Once again, please give a big thank you to my friend and fellow photography historian for sharing this find with us.

Note: the title of this post is a riff on a 1970s book I enjoyed many years ago called, “Summer of ’42

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a boatload of testosterone

American troops reach the States after WW2 ends in Europe

Toronto.  Our past president and friend Les Jones sent me this interesting photograph from the Rare Historical Photos website showing American troops arriving home on the Queen Elizabeth. Les is both a sports photographer and an author.

I had an uncle in WW2. He landed in Canada by boat. The journey home continued by train to the CNE grounds in Toronto where we picked him up for the final ride home. He said he was sea sick going to the war and coming back home.

Visit this site to see other photos and read about the troops arriving back in the States. I just finished Erik Larson’s book “The Splendid and the Vile”. Larson makes use of copious quotes from the early war years to follow Churchill and his family from pre war 1939 to Pearl Harbor with an epilogue to carry the tale to post war. The book hits home on just how much was owed to the American participation, albeit a bit late.

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PHSC News newsletter for June 2021

Mamiya Super-16 subminiature camera

Toronto. At right top of page 1 in the latest PHSC News newsletter is a subminiature film camera made by Mamiya in Japan for all you die-hard film fans.

June of 2021 is well underway, and our editor, Sonja and her team, have produced this thought-provoking   edition to distract you from the current pandemic. Speaking of which, COVID-19 vaccinations are accelerating in spite of the virus variations world-wide. According to the TV news, our percentage vaccinations per capita have catapulted us to the top of the G7 countries after a very sluggish start. Vaccines and close adherence to common sense guidelines seem to be affecting new cases in a very good way.

This latest issue of PHSC News (21-02) has many delightful articles – short, crisp, and provocative. Take a few moments and read them to ease your personal cares (and boredom)!

The page 1 article, ‘Bearly Lucky‘ shows how NOT to chase a bear, in spite of the success this time.  Page 2, under PHSC Presents is, “Honey, I Shrunk the Lighting Equipment)“,  highlighting the various ways slides were viewed under a light microscope . On page 3, in the column “STREAMABLES“ we meet American photographer, the late Elsa Dorfman,  and Polaroid’s massive 20×24 inch studio view camera (few were ever made); while page 4 features a whimsical look at “The Pun-gent Photography of Bruce A. McMillan” in the column called “PHOTO BOOK 101“.

Page 5 discusses “Will an Election Win be Cummings for Erin O’Toole?” in the “MEDIA-ROLOGY” column’s tongue-in-cheek take on a possible O’Toole campaign. And David does his usual saucy Equipment Review, and the “Why it was Tough Going for Silent Film Stars with Acne“ article about ortho and pan film; while page 7 has a trio of WEB LINKS of interest to us all.

And of course, Page 8 features a poster on our forth-coming ZOOM event  “Paulette Michayluk: On Inspiration. You may find this page very familiar since I used it in a recent post :-)! On page 9, Ivy & Izzy trade quips on “The Hallmark of a Drugstore Collection” quietly followed by John’s compilation page of classifieds covering many events of interest to photographers and our members.

P.S. As usual, every link shown in the newsletter is a hot link just waiting for your click!

P.P.S. You can visit this issue by clicking here, or by g0ing to the menu item NEWSLETTER at the top of the page. There is a drop down menu that takes you to older issues dating back a couple of decades to the very beginning.

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one man’s trash …

Ms Jordana Lee takes a rest with a 1950s DeSoto, as photographed by Garry Black

Toronto. … is another’s treasure, or so they say. On June the 7th, 2021, Stu Mills of CBC News posted the article, “All makes and models: Auto scrapyard a mecca for photographers“. This article  and photos show how innovative photographers have taken to the “Eastern Ontario Boneyard [that] has been setting aside classic cars since the 1960s”.

The ‘boneyard’ relics are used as props for models in eye-catching garb. Our PHSC president, Clint Hryhorijiw. himself a professional photographer. noticed this interesting article and passed it along. A big thanks to Clint for sharing this tidbit of ‘future’ history.

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Paulette Michayluk: On Inspiration – June PHSC Presentation

Toronto.  Paulette Michaluk: On Inspiration. Ms Michayluk is a photographer and podcaster. Join us on June 16, 2021 at 8 pm (we begin around 7:30 with a social get together – all welcome). Read the poster below for more information. Poster taken from the coming PHSC News for June 2021 with thanks to editor Sonja Pushchak.

Go to Eventbrite for free tickets or to with any questions.

Zoom audience questions are welcome.

Our June Presentation via ZOOM

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mille feuille

April 1944 Popular Photography ads

Toronto. In the spring of 1944, it seemed as if everyone wanted to make photographic paper, especially the fast variety suitable for enlarging (slower contact paper worked but took minutes of exposure, not seconds). In the 1950s, only the larger establishments could sell Kodak papers, all smaller studios and shops sold ‘off brands’. This included Ilford at the time. I tried Ilford back then, but sample photos were hard to find so it was a bit of a pig-in-a-poke situation. I stuck with Kodak.

Papers varied in sensitivity, weight, surface, contrast (grade), etc. Some makers, like the mighty Eastman-Kodak had readily available sample sheets to help the professional or enthusiastic amateur choose a paper. Years later, Ilford pushed black and white material and had a gorgeous sample book for their two paper product lines (Ilfobrom and Ilfomar). Ilford films, paper  filters, and chemistry, all for black and white exposures took off due to their well thought out and systematic approaches. For example, instead of storing a number of different paper grades for any given product, you needed just ONE Ilford paper. Every paper had the full gamut of grades so a simple filter change in the enlarger was used instead.

A tip of the hat to George Dunbar for suggesting these ads for alternatives to enlarging paper from the Great Yellow Father. In the end, It came down to mostly Kodak or Agfa for colour paper and mostly Ilford for black and white paper.

NB. The post title means ‘thousand sheets’ and comes from a delightful French pastry. I first enjoyed mille feuille over sixty years ago in Montreal with my morning coffee. You can make a modern version with this preppy kitchen recipe.

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