communication counts!

Photographic Canadiana

Toronto. No matter where you are; who you are; what you are, communication is important. October 23, 1974 at an informal meeting in Toronto, a small group of collectors met. It was decided then and there that Canada was ready for a photographic collector’s organization  and the Photographic Historical Society of Canada was born.

The following March 1975, a key element saw the light of day. Volume 1-1 of the newsletter Photographic Canadiana was mailed to members. It was a typewritten, mimeographed document folded in thirds for mailing. The editor of the first two volumes was member Terry Wedge. Mostly text, the articles were single column, spanning the width of the letter sized paper. That year, 10 issues were distributed. The following year,  the newsletter dropped to six issues. The tag line was “The Newsletter of the Photographic Historical Society of Canada“. It was very important to advise all members of events, ads, and society activities making the newsletter a critical part of the fledgling society. 

A new editor took over as of volume 3-1 (May 1977) . Jack Addison introduced changes that transformed the young newsletter into a magazine. A traditional mast head was added, some two column articles were published and the back page featured an old Kodak Canada advertisement (for which we received the princely sum of $25 from Kodak Canada – Jack was a keen collector of Kodak cameras and ephemera). For the first time the society paid for galleys and commercial printing, allowing better photo quality .

Many more pictures began to appear in each issue along with some original copy amongst reprints from other magazines and societies. Some three column material appeared too, and by volume 3-5, the magazine had an ISSN number (0704-0024). Regular columns began to appear while the tag line disappeared.

Twice in volume 5, it was  necessary to print double issues in an effort to catch up with the calendar. By volume 6-2, Pim Scryer began to do the layout, and as of the next volume, took over printing as well (Pim’s family produced a community newspaper in the east end of the city). At the business meeting held in April, 1981, Jack Addison asked for a volunteer to take over the editor’s job. Pat Agnew of Oshawa raised his hand, and became the editor!

Pat’s first issue was 7-1 (May 1981). Living in Oshawa, he felt abandoned even though the format, layout, and printer were all in place. By volume 9, we had a new president. Bill Belier was a well respected salesman and executive in the Canadian photographic industry with many contacts. He began to help Pat get the journal out. A double issue was necessary once again to realign the journal and the calendar.

Volume 10 coincided with our tenth anniversary celebrations. It was the last 6 issue volume. The executive agreed to drop to 5 issues to match the meeting schedule which was September to the following May (membership was May to the following April with no meetings in July and August). Bill took over the editor position with volume 11-1 (May 1985) . He and I jointly worked on a comprehensive index to all volumes of our journal using  a database, a work that continues today. Printed copies of the index were printed and published from time to time.

For volume 12-3 (November 1986) we had a new editor, Doug Gilbertson. Doug began accepting articles via disk or email (modem). As of volume 12-4 Doug introduced the per issue table of contents that has continued to this day. A variety of calamities caused significant delays in publication during his brief tenure. An editorial board, which had been established by me failed, abandoning him and his dilemmas.

Effective with volume 13-3 (November 1987), the society had another new editor in Ev Roseborough. Ev, with his discipline and industry contacts quickly brought the journal up to schedule. Ev introduced the steel-cut of the wet plate guy as our official logo on the cover of volume 15-1 (May 1989), using him on the cover of the first issue of almost every volume thereafter (in  various sizes, reversed, negative, etc.) Over the 50 issues edited by Ev, he added both a hard deadline and a standard format to the journal. Volume 21-5 (March 1996) was the first issue to use a modern sans serif font for the cover title.

Bob Lansdale became the editor with volume 22-3 (November 1996) after working beside Ev on a number of earlier issues. After Ev relinquished the job of editor, he closed his studio on Dundas Street in Etobicoke. With Bob, we entered the era of desktop publishing (he was taking a class at Humber and the class helped him use QuarkXpress to create the very first digital copy of the journal), relegating x-acto knives, waxed backed paper galleys and faint blue lined page size cards to history. Volume 31-5 (March 2006) was our last 5 issue volume. Bob introduced the 4 issue volume with the same total number of pages per volume (80 or more). This reduced some mailing and publishing costs and efforts. In time Bob moved from QuarkXpress to InDesign page layout software.

Bob introduced a significant increase in Canadian content and a shift away from hardware to the personalities, photographs, and photographic techniques involved historically. He also did the first colour pages (on occasion).

Volume 42-2 (September 2016) saw a major revamp in layout to make the journal newsstand ready. The next few issues were tuned to make each one more readable while still appealing to the casual newsstand browser. Bob continues today as editor having produced over half the volumes to date.  Bill Belier, Ev Roseborough, and Bob Lansdale have each demonstrated just how critical communication and networking is to the timely success of the journal and through it the success of our organization. It should be noted that the duties of editor also meant thinking up, researching, and writing many of the articles.

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