who you gonna call


Toronto. was a line from the GhostBusters theme. Roy Parker Jr wrote the catchy little tune for the 1984 movie “GhostBusters” which became a popular computer game.

And for photo historians and photographica collectors these days it is indeed apt. The hey day of camera and photo collecting was arguable in the 1970s and 1980s. Lots of research; books were published on collecting; on popular camera makes; on processes; on history; etc.. Reprints of books and essays were offered to the eager buying public. Price guides appeared and were frequently updated. Online services like Ebay arrived. Garage sales were scoured for goods to be sold at camera fairs and auctions.

Today, interest has shifted to computers, digital games, and smart phones. Everyone and no one is a photographer. The bottom dropped out of the market for most film camera collections. So, if you have a curiosity; a question; then, “who you gonna call”? Your local photographic historical society, your local university, your local archives, your local library, or your local museum, that’s who!

Our society, the Photographic Historical Society of Canada (PHSC), has been around since 1974, as has our journal, Photographic Canadiana. And we are on the web, facebook, instagram and the internet. Our editor, Bob Lansdale has a strong network and a good basis in the history of Canadian studios and photographers; Dr Mike Robinson of Toronto is an acknowledged authority on daguerreotypes; Our president, Clint Hryhorijiw is an authority on Notman and other 19th century studios; our Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has a photographic division and collects prints and collections from the earliest days to the current period. Then we have Ryerson University downtown with post graduate studies in preserving and organizing all photographic processes, as well as archives, libraries, and museums steeped in history and photographica. Speakers hosted by the PHSC have come from all walks of life including curators, auction houses, magazines, publishers, producers, professional photographers, film editors and collectors.

We have a series of site links down the lower right side of our website. The first, managed by John K, on Photographers of Ontario, is detailed and thorough. John will only publish facts that can be properly verified. We have access to the works of the late Graham Garrett including his epic work on Canadian photographers of the daguerreotype era. And the works of the late Robert Wilson, on Baltzly, cameras, accessories and especially stereography.

In these days of COVID-19, our society has increased its production of online material through the strong direction of editor Lansdale and the concerted efforts of its executive, who toil on behalf of the society without renumeration. If you have any questions, drop me a line at info@phsc.ca so I can answer or redirect the question. Not a member yet? Then break out the plastic and follow the PayPal guidelines on the upper right of this site. Our price for membership is a bargain!

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