a crash course

an accident in the summer of 1960 in a small town

Toronto. We are so accustomed today to full colour photos/videos if not the actual people, scenery,  concerts, theatre, etc, that we never give it a second thought.

That was not always the case. Think about not having photography or photographers. We would have to either be there or be able to read and comprehend text in great detail relieved perhaps by the odd wood-cut or steel engraving.

When this accident happened, black and white film and photos or short movies were the norm. TV was low resolution black and white showing short movie clips during the news before and after the half hour or  hour programs interspersed with ads. At night, on the weekends the movies shown were old, and cropped to fit the allotted time period, ads, and TV aspect ratios. Not exactly the same as shown years before in movie theatres.

New films by then used the far more expensive and finicky colour processes of the day. Even in the silent era, some films used one colour (toning) or two colour processes  – usually for the positives sent to theatres in large American cities.

Post war, newspapers regularly used B&W photos. The pricier magazines could afford colour covers and selected colour in their ads. By the 1950s/60s, the novelty of colour home movies attracted some brave souls to ‘commemorate’ events like weddings, retirements and birthdays with their movie cameras.

Today everyone has a smartphone with a digital still camera and video camera included. Once taken, images can be viewed instantly and ‘edited’ right there or on a computer. The images can be sent anywhere in a flash. No waiting for the mail, no scrounging projection gear and a darkened room – just view and enjoy! “How To” videos are much preferred to static manuals even if they come with lots of stills!

Without photographic processes, there would be no photos, just tons of text and engravings. And paintings of the rich and famous. We would need to rely on this  –  and old buildings plus a colourful imagination – to give us some idea of history … perhaps even taking a crash course in reading and comprehension.

PS. If you would like more film/digital gear for your collection or use (for example as a niche user of film) be sure to visit our fall fair, “The Big One” this coming October 15th.


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