dead still

cover shot – PC 13-5

Toronto. Our PHSC president, Lewko (Clint) Hryhorijiw, sent me a note the other day about an Irish mystery series on CityTV involving photographs of the dead.

This process was duly discussed in our journal many years ago (Vol  13-5 in March 1988). The Toronto Star column by Debra Yeo (May 15th) nicely captures the spirit of the post-mortem art with a twist.

I have a couple of far more modern photographs my self of some relatives.

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there’s something happening here ….

sample page of Photographic Canadiana 46-1

Toronto. … as the old tune sung by Buffalo Springfield says. With the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing in effect, the PHSC will be sending a series of pdf files to members as specials.

First out is Photographic Canadiana issue 46-1 expanded in size and using mostly colour images. It will go to all members registered for year 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 and with an email address.

If this applies to you and you do not see this colourful issue due out this Friday afternoon, drop me a note at  and I will make sure you get a copy and are posted on MailChimp. Note that future perks will be sent to members registered for the year 2020-2021 with emails on MailChimp.

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it’s in the cards

1865 Stereo Card from US Civil War

Toronto. Over a century ago, before movies, radio, television, computers, and smart phones, a key source of education and entertainment was the stereo card.  These slightly curved bits of cardboard held two photos (usually taken at slightly different angles, although fakes using two identical photos existed). With a photo for each eye, a cheap viewer (or none at all if the viewer was skilled) let the brain merge the two photos into one in 3D.

The cards acted as a travelogue for many. Subjects included city views, medical,  comedy, wars, history and many other educational and entertaining topics. People of all ages viewed these marvels to learn and laugh! This example is a band of slaves who  escaped to the north and fought for the Union. This card is one sold by “The War Photograph & Exhibition Company” in Hartford Connecticut. Other larger companies (Keystone, Underwood & Underwood, etc.) sold the bulk of the cards.

My thank s to George Dunbar for bringing this piece of history to my attention.

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a wing and a prayer

One of Geroge Hunter’s Aerial Cameras

Toronto. The late George Hunter spoke to us a couple of times (Tales of a Photographer in January 2003; Songs of the Future at the AGO in summer 2011). George took iconic photographs across North America using a war-time aerial camera and a small two person airplane to take many of them.

A natural story teller, George gave stomach grabbing descriptions of his work across the years including leaning out of aircraft with purposely missing doors and falling out on the strut while trying for a photo. He valued a good shot over the risk to life and limb.

He told a story of borrowing a plane and pilot in Edmonton and removing a door. A few months later, the owner of the aircraft emailed me to confirm the story! Scary stuff!

Near the end of his life, an exhibition of his work was on display at the Mississauga City Hall. The beautiful photographs were all printed on a professional ink jet printer from scanned negatives.  George died at age 92 on April 10, 2013. Many of us attended his memorial in Mississauga 10 days later.

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up close and personal

Scott’s fertilizer bead?

Toronto. I took this shot in October 2014 with a century old Zeiss licensed, Krauss made Tessar 35mm f/3.5 at f/22 after looking at the soil sample under a Leitz stereo microscope using 12.5x, 50x, and 100x magnification. The Tessar shot is about 25x magnification before any computer screen enlargement. According to the web, the tiny ball is either a slug or snail egg.  Scott’s (the seed and fertilizer people) say it is a slow release fertilizer bead. I tend to agree with Scott’s.

The tiny 35mm f/3.5 Tessar lens has an RMS (Royal Microscopal Society) thread (a standard once used by all microscope makers). I used a Leitz RMS to 39mm adapter, Leitz Bellows II, Visoflex housing II, Leitz M-mount to Sony E-mount adapter and my Sony NEX-6 camera to make this image.

Just as a note, in the early years of photography, Zeiss licensed other camera lens makers to use their lens designs. Licensing over-came duty penalties, scarce resources in house, and spread the name and prestige of Zeiss designs world wide.

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PHSC News newsletter for May 2020

Mamiya Professional Camera

Toronto. Our latest issue of PHSC News in pdf format was released yesterday by our inspired editor Sonja Pushchak and her team in this trying time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Page 1 offers “World Pressure”; page 2 covers  a virtual presentation on making a cereal commercial at home (since our monthly Toronto meetings are currently on hold); and in “Pandemic Follies” we see how others are not coping that well with the pandemic.

Photo Book 101 on page 4 discusses the TPL online (Toronto Public Libraries), while the Streamables on page 5 talks of the challenges faced by Franklin and Co. 1-3/4 centuries ago. David Bridge talks focus stacking with software in his Equipment Review. David follows this effort by once again helping partner Louise Freyburger with a trio of interesting web links. As a wrap, PHSC Events and the Classifieds are book ends for “Vi and Dot” who address movie fan magazines like PHOTOPLAY so popular last century.

Click here for the current issue or check out this and past issues under NEWSLETTER on the menu bar.

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if only it was this easy …

Minolta Ad in the June 12,1964 LIFE magazine

Toronto.By 1964, a new kind of exposure meter finally made it possible to record low light settings. The CdS or Cadmium Sulfide cell resistance varied with the amount of light it was exposed to. A battery with a stable voltage level allowed a consistency over time. A meter converted the light value to the correct aperture and speed for a given media (film) sensitivity (ASA or today, ISO). The CdS cell required a voltage source whereas the selenium cell generated a voltage that varied with light intensity (unfortunately the selenium cell was nearly useless under low light conditions).

The emergence of the CdS cell made cameras far more capable of auto-exposure in low light and therefore far more idiot-proof. Camera makers like Minolta in this June 12, 1964 LIFE ad (page R12, a bit after page 112) incorporated the cell to expand or maintain their segment of the retail photographic market. A simple circuit consisting of the cell, a mercury battery, an adjustable resistor (for calibration) and a meter became common place. Unfortunately pollution from expired mercury cells resulted in this popular source of stable voltage to be banned.

My thanks to George Dunbar for mentioning the LIFE ad and its highlighting of a pivotal era in photographic history. Had the Wheatstone bridge circuitry been more common, CdS meters like the Gossen Pro could have used any button cell and not been made obsolete by environmental concerns. Later on, Zener diodes and petite silver oxide cells created more expensive alternatives to physically fit spaces designed for mercury cell buttons.

In time, digital technology made all the film cameras and accessories including light meters  obsolete to all but the film niche enthusiasts.

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the way we were …

Henry’s on Queen West in the big smoke c1945

Toronto. A popular camera chain, Henry’s, began here in Toronto over a century ago.

This May, the chain announced it would be closing a number of stores as it restructured. Then Henry’s head, Andy Stein, spoke with us back in October, 2009.

When the closures were announced, author, photographer, occasional PHSC member (and speaker), Mike Filey wrote this column in the Toronto Sun.

I spent many delightful hours in their old store just south of Queen as I changed and augmented my collection at the time. Thanks to our editor Bob Lansdale for sending on the info from member Jim Hall of Guelph. I had heard the announcement on the TV news, but forgot to put it in a post.

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another auction just across the lake

Auction in Ohio. Click to see a sample lot (CDV of Tom Thumb and Wife)

Toronto. Here is another chance to augment your collection.

On the 17th of this month American Heritage Auctions in Ohio are holding a photographic auction hosted by Live Auctioneers who have the lots listed in this online catalogue.

If you want to add some Americana to your collection, here is your chance. You can bid on line.

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we have a winner!

PhotoEd Winner by Julie Vincent of Calgary.

Toronto. PhotoEd editor Rita Godlevskis sent me this bulletin the other day. In it she announces the winners of her “The Look West” photo challenge. First prize goes to Julie Vincent of Calgary for the portrait shown at left.

Rita says her Spring/Summer 2020 issue is now out both in hard copy and in digital (different content than the hard copy). In the digital copy (page 79) we have a full page ad that links back here. NOTE: in the spirit of new by-laws to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections, our May 31 Fair was cancelled (hopefully the outdoor trunk sale in July and the fall fair will go ahead – I will post future details as we learn them).

Meantime, enjoy Rita’s work online and seriously consider buying a subscription to help out (and learn even more about the art too).

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