19th edition of enlarging (1969), by Jacobson and Mannheim. Published by focal press

Toronto. Well into the late 1940s, most photographers made contact prints. A camera was chosen for the size of the negative it made. In the mid 1930s, the so called minicam revolution was under way. After the second world war the use of small negatives and enlargers became almost universal.

Even newspapers switched from the bulky large format cameras and contact prints to the small negatives and enlargers. Darkrooms without enlargers became a thing of the past.

In 1939, the very first edition of C. I. Jacobson’s book, “enlarging” was published by the focal press. By 1967, the book had reached nineteen editions and was now co-edited and co-written by L. A. Mannheim. I bought my copy new from Rodick’s Booksellers on St Catherine Street in Montreal, a few blocks west of Peel, in August of 1969 for the princely sum of $9.95.

The 525+ pages of this edition covered the finer points of darkroom work for the films of the day. Those who have grown up in the era of digital photography, computers, and smart phones have no idea how much skill and effort it took in the darkroom to create a technically solid print even before art considerations entered the picture and turned a snap-shot into a work of art!

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