remembering Bob Lansdale

A young Bob Lansdale in Jack Marshall’s darkroom (early 1950s)

Toronto. Bob’s son Robert sent over these images and asked me to switch them into yesterday’s post which I agreed to do. However; both sets are so wonderful I decided to do a second post instead.

When I first met Bob, little did I know that he was so innovative – always thinking of ways to achieve an improvement and attract more members. For those of you who are unaware of Bob’s contributions, let me state some of them once again. Hs first and longest duty for the PHSC was to edit the journal, “Photographic Canadiana” which he did with enthusiasm and professionalism right to his end.

He did lengthy research into Canadian photographers and inventors, unearthing and publishing details that got buried in the noise of histories published by far bigger countries. He expanded his network of willing writers world wide. In time, he began to get offers of material written by many others.

Worried about society events that missed the publishing deadline, he conceived a free pdf-style newsletter that continues to this day.  To eliminate wasted journal pages, he dropped the back cover advertisement began by Jack Addison in the early days of the society and moved other material to a newly created “news sheet” that was packaged with each issue of the journal.

When the opportunity to get a display panel showed up, Bob leaped to the challenge and filled the panel with enlarged copies of PHSC events and News Sheets. Displayed at camera fairs and other events, the panel encouraged non-member attendees to consider membership.

He asked members to contribute columns. Being biased to the history of Canadian studios, Canadian photographers and image collecting, he arranged for others to show and write about cameras and accessories in order to give a balanced issue each time. The vast majority of articles he produced are original and decidedly Canadian (and well researched). He very rarely resorted to reprinting non-Canadian articles to fill an issue, an option often used in earlier days.

Bob travelled at length in pursuit of authenticity and accuracy for each article, especially those he personally wrote. While tasked as editor, Bob was quite prepared to help out others, not just with ideas, but hands-on work as well.

He became the official photographer of both our society and The Daguerreian Society in the States. His photographic record of the annual seminars of The Daguerreian Society were posted on line so attendees could view them all (and even purchase some individual pictures).

When COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the earth, he came up with the idea of added pdf specials and pdf versions of exchange newsletters – some no long published – to keep members interested in the PHSC. While he arranged for publication approval of copyrighted material, other members stepped up to the challenge and scanned, distributed, and advertised the specials to encourage members old and new.

At year end, a compilation of issues in the current journal volume was printed and mailed to those few members desiring a hard copy, or unable or unwilling to provide an email address. Bob personally revised colour images as monochrome versions to ensure the best possible translation of colours to grey scale values.

And following a few few of thew many photographs of Bob Lansdale courtesy of son Robert.

Bob being interviewed for his D-Day Landing story (it’s on the web too)

Bob advertising for new members using the display he prepared

President Clint Hryhorijiw presents Bob with a certificate for meeting his 100 issue objective

Bob Lansdale and Bob Carter after a PHSC meeting and portrait session

Bob Lansdale, his sister, and Celio Barreto packaging at Aries printers in Toronto

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