our November 20th talk – Celio Barreto on Japanese Photography

Celio Barreto

Toronto. Celio Barreto returns to talk on the “Closed Darkroom of the East“. Celio is an authority on Japanese photography. He currently teaches at Seneca College in Toronto.

The material on Celio’s presentation is courtesy of Sonja Pushchak and the PHSC News newsletter.

The public is always welcome. Go to our Programs page for times and directions.

November 2019 Speaker

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1,000 words

PHSC Image Show Sunday – click above to read or print

Toronto. It is said that a picture is worth a 1,000 words. How about a hundred pictures? A thousand? Ten thousand? I don’t know either. What I do know is that you will find thousands of pictures at our image show ranging from early daguerreotypes to modern prints and posters.

Come along this Sunday and check out our tables of images. This small but classy show has been an annual event for a few years now. It is down on Elm Street at the Arts and Letters club. Drop by and pick up a new image or more for your collection or wall!

Click the tiny poster icon at left to see a bigger version. Thanks to Sonja for the icon and poster.

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why don’cha take a pichure …

PHSC Image Show this Sunday

Toronto. … the school yard kid snarled. Why indeed? A wall ornament? A new acquisition for your collection? Memories? Whatever. Just be sure to get to the PHSC Image show this coming Sunday down at Arts & Letters club on Elm street. Use the better way (TTC), or park behind the A&L club in the Chelsea Hotel garage.

Click on Sonja’s nifty poster icon at left to see a larger version viewable by mature (old) eyes (and printable too) with details on the show. The show is always small, intense, and a great place to get some rare pictures.

And did I mention tasty refreshments too?

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in the land of the blind …

LIFE for June 1959 had this ad for the Kodak Brownie Starmatic camera

Toronto. … the one eyed man is king. Have you ever noticed that consumer goods ape each other using the most popular technical advances? Radios, televisions, smart phones, computers, even cars all embrace and promote the latest whiz bang idea.

In 1959, selenium cell exposure meters directly coupled to a camera in various ways became de rigueur for all camera makers.  Even cheap box cameras embraced electric eye devices. For example, Kodak marketed their 127 film size Brownie as a Brownie Starmatic Camera.

The ads (like this p 59 June 28, 1959 LIFE ad) touted how using the Starmatic would lead to “… beautiful snapshots and sparking color slides. All you do is aim and shoot!” The ad suggests you use Kodak film of course and you could take both outdoor (sun or shade) photos or even indoors, if by a window. The ad says you are “… always in focus — even as close as up to four feet (qualified by the manual) …”. Which is a fact of physics for a fixed focus lens with a small aperture and a 44 mm focal length.

Basically the electric eye mechanism adjusts the aperture slightly to correct for different lighting conditions. The fixed focus lens has a fast aperture of f/8 which is automatically stopped down in brighter lighting to as far as f/22. There is also a two speed shutter to help in accommodating different lighting conditions. In the 1950s, it was expected that cheap none-flash cameras were only used outdoors or in bright sunny rooms. You could buy an accessory flash gun for the Starmatic, of course, for indoor and night shots, but in such cases the electric eye did nothing for you so such help was not in the electric eye ads (I had a Weston Master III but it crapped out just as the light dimmed and you needed its help the most).

The original Starmatic camera was black.  A few years later a more pleasing two-tone version was marketed.

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PHSC News for November 2019

Eyemore S1 digital camera

Toronto. Another great issue of our newsletter from editor Sonja Pushchak and her team. Page 1, Electric Avenue, reviews the Victorian gadgets using electricity to improve a person’s health. My friend’s grandfather had an electric gadget that had hand grips and dials. It was supposed to improve health. Snake oil “doctors” would leap on every new scientific discovery and flog gadgets and nostrums “guaranteed” to cure/improve your ailment/health.

Page 2 covers Celio Barreto’s talk this month; Page 3 riffs off the talk by Louie Palu on war. War and Effect covers movies on the topic. After some PHSC posters on our auction and image show this month, David does an Equipment  Review about LUTs, profiles, calibration, colour space, etc. to keep the colour of photos constant on the monitor, printer, and scanner. David stepped in to do Louise’s Web Links too – links to some images by George Hunter, Ilford’s latest stuff, and VueScan’s app he mentioned in the Equipment Review.

PHSC Presents highlights our coming events; Vi and Dot cover some ideas on clothing and counter culture; and this issue wraps up with the nifty “The Classifieds” page. Click here to see the pdf, or write me at news@phsc.ca to get a personal copy every month (except when we take a summer break). I just need your email address. Use subject “Newsletter” – no other text is necessary.

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Robert Freeman, photographer 82

Richard Freeman by Manuel Bruque (Spain 2006)

Toronto. Wednesday’s Globe carried the Obituary from the NY Times. Robert Freeman died this month after a lengthy illness. The obituary was written by NY Times columnist Richard Sandomir.

Freeman is best known for his early album cover shots of the Beetles and the famous Pirelli calendars. He later went on to do TV commercials and direct films.

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Towell exhibit at Bulger Gallery

Larry Towell  courtesy of World Press Photo

Toronto. I first saw a Larry Towell photograph at the AGO one night when we were given a guided tour of the Photography section by the curator (and PHSC member), Maia Sutnik.   A far more extensive exhibition of photos by Larry Towell can be seen at his exhibition at the Stephen Bulger Gallery.

The exhibition runs from  November 9th to December 21st of this year. Larry will be doing a guided tour of the exhibition this coming Saturday, November 16th, at 3pm. A reception runs the same day from 2pm to 5pm.


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Jack Ford, Photographer 97

Jack Ford by Kevin van Paassen of the Globe

Toronto. Mr Ford died May 3 of this year (2019) here in the big smoke of a brain tumour.  I did a post on Jack two years ago. He was known for his World War 2 photographs. While born in Oklahoma City, he moved here as a baby and was raised by his maternal grandparents.

This November his death was remembered in a Lives Lived column written by his daughter Tracy. It is a fitting tribute to this remarkable photographer.

By the way, if you click on the tiny photo at left, an enlarged view shows just what a professionally taken portrait can show. Well done Kevin!

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pro baseball expert says …

LIFE touts Kodacolor
via Mickey Mantle

Toronto. There is an old truism that an expert in one field is no expert in another.  That didn’t stop professional baseball player Mickey Mantle from touting Kodacolor and his Brownie as able to take professional photographs without practice… You are just more fodder for Barnum if you believe Mantle and Kodak.

Thanks to George Dunbar, a true photography professional, for passing along this May 25, 1959 LIFE magazine ad (p 55) for Kodak cameras and Kodacolor film. Hard to imagine even a thirsty ball player like Mantle using a cheap camera worth what to him would be chump change. And to suggest such quality shots without practice when he knows even professional ball players have to practice daily to keep up their game!

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Lest we Forget …

In Flanders Fields

Toronto. As a school kid in the dying days of World War 2, we took the minute of silence at 11 am on November 11th seriously.  Every child knew John McCrae’s poem by heart:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields

And every child wore a poppy even if they had no idea who Dr McCrae was or where Flanders Fields were. Later, after the war, I gained an aunt from Belgium who grew up in Flanders, and in high school I learned just who Dr John McCrae was and how his epic poem came about.

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