the golden age of photography

Focal Press offered
many well written
instruction books like
this 500+ pager

Toronto. What do you think was the golden age of photography? To me it was the 1960s – 1980s. Lots of camera stores, magazines. books, etc. Cameras and lenses were well built and ever higher quality. Prices were reasonable. Colour had become main stream by the middle of the period fostering in small shops offering cheap and fast colour prints.

Most cameras and lenses were mechanical, with only super sensitive CdS cell light meters using batteries. Zoom lenses proliferated making it easy to shoot with a range of focal lengths without changing the lens.  A Leica could be bought without need for a loan.

And home processed colour was now available to any amateur willing to take the time and care. Chemistry and tools abounded. Drums – and motors – soon made colour printing possible for the most part in daylight. Sadly the best you could do was make a correctly exposed and colour balanced print – glossy or matt. It was only Black and White that leant itself to a range of contrasts, exposures and kinds of paper.

In the 1970s people began to appreciate the history of photography, its processes and equipment, Societies of camera collectors, and to a lesser degree image collectors sprung up. Everyone seemed fascinated by the history of the medium. Our society was established in 1974 during the heady days when it was easy to find old cameras, lenses, accessories, and photographs but hard to correctly date and identify them. Prices were relatively cheap but as collectors became more informed the prices took off and people began to buy and sell items for profit.

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