a gaggle of cameras

a gaggle of cameras sold at the fall 2008 fair

Toronto. The cameras at left were photographed by our late editor Bob Lansdale at the fall fair in 2008. Bob’s collage made the cover of our journal (issue 34-3).

Bob write’s “The selection of interesting cameras arrayed on our cover are but a few that could be found at the recent PHSC Fall Fair in Woodbridge, Ontario [ now at Trident Hall, Etobicoke]. Our coverage of this annual event can be reviewed on pages 8 and 9 of this issue.

“Images include: a no-name folding camera from “The Newest Company,” a Duplex Super 120 stereo, a Mandel PDQ model H street camera, and a Contessa-Nettel Deckrullo bellows plate camera overshadowing a miniature Ensign Midget.”

While the spring fair was held last month, there is time to catch the trunk show this July and the fall fair in October of this year (details are in the works).

Attendance at the Trunk Show is free while there is a modest charge for admission to our fall fair.

PS. Join the PHSC and receive a pdf of volumes 1 through 40 of Photographic Canadiana. See the right sidebar for details.

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who the heck is Todd Webb?

Todd Webb, “Between Lovelock and Fernley, NV,” 1956. (Todd Webb Archive)

Toronto. Years ago, I was busy devouring large photograph ‘coffee table books’ including Frank photographs in the book he co-authored called “The Americans“.  The Washington Post on the 5th of this June had an interesting article/review titled. “Two photographers traveled America. One became a star. The other vanished.“, by Sebastian Smee. The ‘star’ is Robert Frank.

Frank’s contemporary, the ‘vanished’ Todd Webb, sunk into oblivion as Smee’s tale tells. Their work is on show in “a superb exhibition at the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Mass. … organized by Lisa Volpe.”

Read Smee’s review/article and the books he references. While the photographs are of America, they have strong sense that can easily be envisioned here. Image collectors (serious ones) have or should begin to collect these fine photographs from the mid last century, not just earlier photographs.

My thanks to PHSC past president, sports photographer Les Jones, for the link and suggestion. An excellent idea from one of our most innovative presidents and programme directors.

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pretty as a picture

1893 portrait of child by Alfred Pittaway, Ottawa

Toronto. In fact this is a picture from the Toronto Reference Library of a little girl photographed by Alfred Pittaway in 1893. Image collectors may have eclectic tastes, or focus on one aspect such as: Clarity, process, studio or subject. The subject can be famous, beautiful/handsome, or homely.

This pretty little girl graced the cover of our journal (issue 34-2) back in the fall of 2008 to highlight the lead article, “Photography in Ottawa”, written by member Thomas Ritchie.

Editor Bob Lansdale introduces the article and portrait this way, “Our lead article deals with “Photography in Ottawa: The First Half-Century, 1850- 1900.” In fact, author Thomas Ritchie has reached back a further five years to uncover who were the first itinerant photographers to hawk their daguerreian wares to the Bytown public.

“Our cover photograph is a child study by Alfred G. Pittaway (1858-1930) whose studio was located at 58 Sparks Street. This photograph was used as a tip-in frontispiece in the Canadian Photographic Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1 of February 1893.”

Members could read Mr Ritchie’s lead article in either the hard copy version, or more recently the PDF version on the DVD sent to members. Not a member? What’s keeping you? Go to the right-hand sidebar of this page and choose a one or three year membership, pay by your PayPal account (blue bar) or use your credit card (black bar) and the DVD will be sent to you.

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Graflex Historic Quarterly 1-24 (Graflex Journal)

1949 Herald-Express radio-flash-car – Herald Examiner Collection

Toronto. My friend Ken Metcalf down in North Carolina sent me a note saying the first edition of the GHQ for 2024 is out. Earlier issues are on the GHQ web site. You can also link to the organization’s website here.

The first issue of 2024 will be up on the website later this year. Its nine pages are full of information for Graflex and Graphic camera collectors. Please send any articles or article ideas along to Ken Metcalf at metcalf537@aol.com. And drop Ken a note if you have any questions.

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give a little, take a little …

the improved Physiographe monocular camera c1900

Toronto.  In a recent post, I described an unusual binocular that could be reversed to become a camera.

By using one side as a camera, and the other as a monocular, this French gadget just a few years later let the casual by-stander ‘see’ it used as a ‘binocular’ while the owner snapped a photo at right angles!

The full story titled,  “THE MONOCULAR CAMERA REVISITED”‘  by Eaton S. Lothrop, Jr. is carried in issue 34-2 of our journal. Eaton writes in the précis to his article, “In Bill Belier’s column, “A Treasure From My Collection,” in the November/December issue of Photographic Canadiana, Ron Anger’s 1924 ”Argus” monocular camera was showcased. A brief follow-up, in the March/April 2001 issue, carried Larry Gubas’ mention of the 1912 Nettel “Spectax” and also mentioned the Zeiss Ikon “Ergo” camera. The article and follow-up, however, only scratched the surface of the story of these interesting little monocular cameras.”

All recent members received a DVD which included this issue in full. You can get the DVD too as a member! Just go to the right of this page; choose a one or three year membership; then choose to pay by your PayPal account (blue bar) or with a debit/credit card (black bar) and Lilianne will shoot off a DVD to you.

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out in the sticks

Portrait of a 1 1/2 year old child c1889

Toronto. This cover photograph for issue 34-1 (summer, 2008) of the journal is courtesy of the late Dr Robert Wilson. The child’s portrait is taken while the baby sits precariously on a stick furniture high chair,

To describe the photograph, our late editor, Bob Lansdale writes, “This quite charming portrait, seen on our cover, is of Charles Wm. McLaughlin, aged 1 year and 5 months.

“It was taken by photographer W. J. Willits (Willetts) of Clifford, Ontario. The date would be about 1888-1890 when stick furniture was in style spurred on by the vogue of vacationing in the wilds of Ontario.

“Photographer Willits may have chosen to create this high chair for his young clients since he is also listed on the verso of his CDV as a “Barber” – so it must be a junior barber chair!”

Members could read the articles in this issue in either the hard copy version, or more recently the PDF version on the DVD sent to all members. Haven’t joined yet? What’s keeping you? Just go to the right side bar of this page and choose a one or three year membership, then pay by a PayPal account (blue bar) or use a credit card (black bar) and the DVD will be sent to your mailing address.

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c’est magnifique

APPPQ Executive 1908-09 courtesy of Clint Hryhorijiw 2008

Toronto. In the spring of 2008, president Clint Hryhorijiw shared the photograph at left with our journal editor, Bob Lansdale. It became the cover illustration for issue 33-4 (Feb-April 2008). The photo shows the executive of the ‘Professional Photographers of Quebec 1908-09’.

Bob introduces this photograph with these words, “Our PHSC President Clint Hryhorijiw recounts on page 6 a misadventure when he acquired a large 30×36 inch framed compos- ite in Montreal and was in the stages of getting it home to Toronto.

“Here we show the detail of the crest for the fledgling Association of the Professional Photographers of the Province of Quebec (APPPQ) which was founded February 18, 1905.

“Research has yet to discover how long the association lasted. In 1951 another similar association was founded by another generation of photographers.”

You can see these photos (courtesy of Clint) and read the story in the PDF version of issue 33-4 on the DVD sent to all members. Not a member? Just go to the right hand sidebar and sign up for one or three years. You can pay with a PayPal account (blue bar) or use a debit to credit card (black bar). A DVD will be on its way to you.

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octagon and octopus

Cover shot of a Kodak Six-20 sitting on a Six-16. Note the Octagonal shutter plate

Toronto. One of the Art Deco features Kodak used was an octagonal shutter plate at the front of some cameras. This included the Kodak Brownie Six-20 folder my dad bought in the late 30s and used until he gave it to me.

A follow-up article (by Rick Soloway and Ralph London) on the Art Deco trend at Kodak was published in issue 33-3 of our journal. The photo at left is the cover shot of that issue dated Dec 2007/Jan 2008 (photo courtesy of Mr Soloway).

Inside the journal, editor Bob Lansdale wrote, “In this issue look to pages five through seven for a revealing story on the chase for octagons in-and-on Kodak cameras.

“Researchers Rick Soloway and Ralph London previously provided in Photographic Canadiana, Vol. 32-3 of December 2006 the interesting tome on camera designer Walter Dorwin Teague.

“Their new story is a carry-on when they suddenly realized the proliferation of octagon shapes and symbols in the Teague era cameras. A number of collectors also joined in on the search for hidden and minuscule shapings.”

Check out the details in the PDF version of this issue on the DVD sent to all members. Not a member yet? No sweat! See the right hand  sidebar and choose a one or three year membership, then pay with your PayPal account (blue bar) or use your debit/credit card (black bar). A copy of the DVD will be sent to you by snail mail!

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daguerreotypist dreamin

portrait of a little girl using media so slow the girl has to have a stand/char to keep still

Toronto. Do you ever wonder what a dag photographer might dream about while sitting on a grassy knoll in the bright sunlight? If he was a futurist like the fictional  Ralph 124C41+ by Hugo Gernsback or the real Alvin Toffler of third wave fame, he may have foreseen today’s digital photography in all its glory.

Imagine the change from B&W to colour; from glacial slow media to ultrafast; from results in minutes, days, weeks or more to nearly instantaneous; cameras the size of a stove to ones so small they fit on a pocket phone.

I picked up this daguerreotype (c1845) at left years ago at one of the PHSC fairs. Cleaned, the black iron stand can be seen between the child’s legs. The chair she is holding helps keep her steady too for the few minutes exposure needed for a ‘good likeness’. I sharpened the image slightly so you can see her eyes more clearly but this also enhanced the many tiny spots on the daguerreotype. Unfortunately, the effect of my cleaning has faded making the tarnished areas more noticeable while hiding the support.

NB. The post title is a riff on the 1966 song titled, “California Dreamin” by the Mamas and Papas.

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a boy and his camera

One of John Boyd’s modified Speed Graphic cameras

Toronto. When the dirty 30s hit, people had to repair and reuse things – money was tight. Even photographers like John Boyd were affected. John was working for the Globe and Mail at the time. Over his 40 year career, with the Globe, John took many photos. In issue 33-2 of the Photographic Canadiana, our editor, the late Bob Lansdale, devoted three stories to this iconic local newspaper photographer.

Bob writes, “We have three stories about newspaper photographer John H. Boyd starting on page 6. We’ve garnered together some of his escapades while on assignment; then we illustrate and dissect one of his famous Speed Graphics which he strengthened and altered to suit the rigours of the press world. Our final portion, starting on page 10, consists of a selection of photographs from the Toronto City Archives about the dirty-thirties which Boyd photographed during his 40 year career with the Toronto Globe and Mail.”

These stories were a tasty treat for members in the fall of 2007. Later on, members could read about Boyd on our DVD. This DVD includes issue 33-2. The latest DVD covers all issues from 1 to 40. It is easy to join! Go to the right hand sidebar of this page and choose a membership period (for a year or three); then choose how you pay. A PayPal account can be used (blue bar). No account, or if you prefer to not use you PayPal account, then use   either a debit or a credit card instead (black bar). As a member, your DVD will be sent off to your mailing address.

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