a eulogy or two

Clint at home with new pooch in 2015. Click on the image to see an executive meeting at Clint’s condo in 2013 (photo by Bob Lansdale)

Toronto. My wife and I recently sat in on two funerals via the modern miracle of video streaming. At both, our president Clint Hryhorijiw spoke very knowledgeably about the effect of our society on the deceased.

All too often, we take the president of the PHSC for granted. However; with Clint, that is simply not the case. Still working as a professional photographer, he finds the time to write columns in our journal; prepare and present eulogies; promote the society; participate actively in all events – especially fairs and auctions; encourage others to join the society and its executive; attend all meetings and events; etc. etc.

All too often we shrug off the very difficult task of leading a society such as ours. It is easy to ‘keep the society going‘ for a two year stint as president. It is quite another matter to lead the motley crew of members and executive into new and exciting ventures. Delegation and promotion are arts seldom seen today. Well done Clint! It is an honour to support your work.

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it’s a date – don’t be late

1947 ad for Briskin 8 home movie camera

Toronto. Home movie cameras were offered before, during, and after WW2. The top end models were the Bolex line from Europe and the Bell and Howell (B&H) line made in Chicago. Cheaper models were made and sold by Kodak. A Chicago radiator company founded by Russian immigrant Sam Briskin, saw a market for a mid range line of movie cameras and the Revere line was invented and took off (scroll down this Revere link to read about the Briskin camera).

Sam’s middle boy, Ted, decided to compete with the family and produced the Briskin 8 which undercut Revere. Sadly, the Briskin turned out to be a retail flop and was sold briefly around 1947.

My thanks and a tip of the hat to that enthusiastic photographic historian, George Dunbar, for unearthing this ad on a rare camera in the July, 1947 issue of Popular Photography and sharing it with us,

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fairy tales

don’t believe all you see …

Toronto. … or don’t believe all you see … People believed photographs captured ‘real’ events. Many viewers had no idea that double exposures and other manipulations could be done to hoodwink the gullible. Those tormented souls of last century or even late in the one before last who believed in seances, and talking to the dearly departed, were willing to believe a fake photograph.

Arthur Conan Doyle, the doctor famous for his Sherlock Holmes stories was one who believed in ghosts and seances. Doyle was convinced the fairy photographs taken by two young girls – cousins – was the real deal. He believed they confirmed his belief in the supernatural.

The photographs appeared in 1920 – the so called “Cottingley Fairies” photographs. The tale is nicely captured on  “The Hoax Museum Blog“. Visit the site and enjoy the things that made people believe.

There is a saying,”You can fool all the people some of the time, etc.”, once attributed to Abraham Lincoln but later refuted. Sadly, photographs, like anything else, can be faked. Caveat Emptor!

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Boot, saddle, to horse, and away!

Nascent Canadian Air Force on Lake Winnipeg in 1921

Toronto. The history of all countries owes much to the publication in January, 1839 of the two primary photographic processes that produced ‘permanent’ positives. Three years later in 1842, Browning’s poem used here was first published.

Prior to 1839, drawings and paintings had to convey depictions of earlier life in all its complexities. Today, museums, archives, schools, newspapers, books, magazines, and even movies all benefit from the ongoing discoveries and improvements to photography.

Smaller countries like Canada are no exception in their histories benefitting from photography. For example, take a look at an article in the June 30, 2021 issue of “The Vox Air“, a publication of the 17th Wing of the Canadian Air Force (CAF) based in Manitoba.  On page seven, an article titled ‘“Birthplace of the Air Force in Manitoba” RCAF and Yacht Club Commemorate 1921 Opening of Victoria Beach Air Station‘ announces the beginning of the Victoria Beach Air Station, which opened April, 1921 on Lake Winnipeg, a few miles north east of the city of Winnipeg.

One photograph, shown above, depicts the Curtiss HS-2L flying amphibian aircraft initially built for the American Navy.  This photograph is dated July 1, 1921 and shows the first HS-2L (being pulled into the lake by horses) ready to fly for the precursor to the our Air Force – the Air Board’. All aircraft of that time were ‘flying boats’ – wheels and skiis came later. The base, opened in April, 1921, operated until 1926 when it was relocated to a new Manitoba location at Lac du Bonnet.

The article uses both text and photographs to celebrate the Station’s centennial anniversary and its first launching of an aircraft after it was pulled into the lake by horses. Imagine how long it would take to describe this activity using words alone! The publication is bursting with photographs, both modern images in colour and historic ones in monochrome.

My thanks to George Dunbar, good friend, PHSC member, and photographic historian for suggesting the above link and photograph.

Note: the title of this post is from Robert Browning‘s 1842 poem of the same name.

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Robert Lansdale 1931 – 2021

Bob Lansdale from 1997 book …a funny thing happened on the way to the darkroom!

Toronto. Please note the funeral is tomorrow, Sunday the 25th. For those who can not attend, it will be available via live stream at:

Password: Arbor2020

The following obituary is courtesy of son Robert:
It is with great sadness we announce the peaceful passing of Bob (Robert) Lansdale at Mississauga Trillium Hospital on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at the age of 90.

Beloved husband of Margaret for 45 years (predeceased May 2007). Loving father of Robert and John (wife LeeAnne). Cherished grandfather of Christopher, Andrew, Matthew, Vanessa and Cameron Lansdale. Predeceased by his parents William Rodney (Rod) and Constance Mary (Connie) Lansdale, also predeceased by his sister Deidee (Sheldon) Lansdale. Bob will be lovingly remembered by his sister Phillis (Philly) Evans. He will be greatly missed by many other relatives and friends. Memories of him will last in our hearts forever.

If so desired, donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation would be appreciated in Bob’s memory.

A private visitation will take place on Sunday, July 25, from 2-3 p.m. followed by a private funeral service at Glendale Funeral Home (1810 Albion Rd., Etobicoke, M9W 5T1 – N.W corner of Hwy. 27 and Albion Rd). Please be aware of the reduced one lane traffic on Hwy 27 between Humber College Blvd. and above Finch Ave. which could add 20 mins of additional drive time. You may want to take Hwy 427 or Martin Grove Rd rather than Hwy 27.

For those who wish to join the funeral service via live stream, please use the following link and password on Sunday, July 25 at 3:00 p.m.

http://www.distantlink.com/dlm4.html Password: Arbor2020

Please leave a condolence message in the Guest book.

Thank you for your love and support during this difficult time. Continue reading

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requiem for an editor

Toronto. Our editor, Ryerson Graduate,  and official photographer, the late Bob Lansdale was also an active member of “The Daguerreian Society”.

That society offers this tribute, “It is with a heavy heart to inform everyone that Robert Lansdale, our distinguished photographer for the Daguerreian Society for many years passed away on July 13, 2021 at 90 years of age.  In honor of Bob and his work for the Society, a special tribute will be presented in the next newsletter.  We are asking if anyone would like to share thoughts, stories, or even images throughout the years of Bob, please feel free to send to Sarah Weatherwax at:  printroom@librarycompany.org and Stephen Perloff at: sperloff@photoreview.org

Please make sure your images are 1200 pixels wide or more and in a jpg format. All tributes need to be received by August 30th for inclusion in the newsletter.

Thank you in advance for your contribution to a life well lived.

Bob Lansdale – The Daguerreian Society

Note: The title of this post is a riff on the late 1950s/early 1960s Playhouse 90 program and movie “Requiem for a Heavyweight“. And Bob was certainly a heavyweight in every organization, society and activity in which he engaged!

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what’s a parrot got to do with it?

Toronto. **SOLD OUT**

Go to Our new YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3VJdg0aAmo0zjAwhdwwV5Q to see the slides presented tonight (July 21st).

Join us [July 21, 2021 at 8 pm] for Dr. Hannouch’s intriguing investigation into the Lippmann process: an early photographic method that used diffraction patterns to capture colour in what was essentially a black and white process. Gabriel Lippmann won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery in 1908.

This online Zoom event sponsored by the Photographic Historical Society of Canada.

Questions? Email us at program@phsc.ca

NB. The title of this post is a riff on the 1984 tune by Tina Turner, “What’s Love Got to Do with it?

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Paulette Michayluk: On Inspiration – review

Ms Paulette Michayluk

Toronto. On the chilly evening of June 16, 2021 we went online with ZOOM to hear the latest Toronto speaker. Paulette is a photographer, a podcaster (Defend the Darkroom) and a printer of both digital and specialized photographic processes. Paulette was originally from Alberta where she studied art at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACADU) and psychology at the University of Alberta. She has held a variety of responsible positions and currently resides in Toronto. Her talks open with an acknowledgement of the various aboriginal tribes once prominent in the area being used at the moment.

Our programme director, Celio. opened the evening with background to the sessions plus a few rules. PHSC president Clint Hryhorijiw followed with very sound reasons for all non members in the audience to join our society.

Paulette showed her experience and acumen by quickly encouraging all audience members to enter the discussion by answering a question on what is inspiring to them. She followed by giving some of her personal background, emphasizing photography as the common thread.

She switched to split screen and control of the slides to allow her to time their duration. Paulette’s first personal inspiration came from Penelope Stewart in Ontario, showing  examples of Stewart’s photographic work on silk organza (10 feet by 10 feet!). Continue reading

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taking the measure of light

Weston Master II ad in a June, 1947 Popular Photography ad.

Toronto. Last century, a professional was able to decide the needed exposure for a printable negative. To be safe, critical shots could be bracketed – a shot taken at both double and half the estimated exposure. Also, with orthochromatic film, the development could be viewed and a trained eye could shorten or extend the time or change the temperature to get a printable gamma curve with details in the highlights and shadows alike. For large sheet films, a pencil and a knife could ‘correct’ the gamma curve.

Various exposure calculating devices allowed a better ‘guesstimate’ for the necessary exposure. In the mid-last century the questions were which maker to choose and whether reflected or incident light readings gave the best result. Of course until CdS cells arrived NO meter helped indoors or at night.

Eventually hand-held meters were replaced with clip-on or built-in meters. My first meter was a clip-on for a Minolta rangefinder camera. The meter was linked to the shutter setting. A hand-held meter was a step up for me and the big decision was Weston vs. GE. I went with Weston and bought a Master III. Used mainly in reflected mode, the big selenium cell of the meter failed just when needed most – at dusk and indoors.

Thanks to my good friend, George Dunbar for sharing this ad from the June 1947 issue of Popular Photography. The Weston ad is page 28 (Master II) and the GE ad is on page 11.

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wither thou goest, Kardon?

Kardon version of Leica IIIa in Pop Photo ad summer, 1947

Toronto. When America was finally dragged into WW2 on the side of Britain, they  had a problem. The Leitz NY organization was taken over by the US government, but no high quality American made 35mm cameras were available. Peter Kardon of the Premier Instrument Company of NY stepped in. He offered to use the Leitz NY equipment to make a camera based on the pre war Leica IIIa using Kodak lenses.

However; Leitz NY manufacturing equipment proved to be unrepairable to Kardon’s dismay, and worse, the Leica IIIa was hand assembled and adjusted by highly trained factory craftsmen. Kardon redesigned the IIIa for precision manufacture and assembly using many tools and dies made especially for this version of the IIIa.

Sadly, while his camera was a technical success, it was a financial failure. The war ended just as the camera was manufactured and it was too expensive to compete with Japanese and German rangefinder cameras. More, Kardon cameras used by government agents in Europe post war tagged them as American spies since expensive retail Kardons were seldom used by tourists.

This ad from page 141 of the July, 1947 issue of Popular Photography records the valiant effort of Kardon to enter the post war America retail market. My thanks to friend and fellow PHSC member, George Dunbar, for this snap shot of photographic history. By the way, a Kardon camera was worth far more in 2001 than it was new – or even used or even a used Leica IIIa! And they are worth even more today!

Note. The title of the post is based on a song from the 1950s based on the old testament of the Bible!

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