Photojournalism: Tools of the Trade

New Exhibition: Special Collections display cases, 4th floor of the Ryerson Library the Ryerson Library building.

Photojournalism: Tools of the Trade

In recognition of the grand opening of the Ryerson Image Centre, Special Collections has put together a small exhibition featuring images of journalists from the Black Star collection with their cameras of choice and a selection of similar cameras from the Historical Camera Collection.

Drop by the 4th floor of the Ryerson Library to see the exhibition.

GRAFLEX CAMERAS

Developed and produced in the United states, the Graflex camera was favoured by photojournalists since it’s introduction in 1910.  This version from the 1940’s uses 4” x 5” sheet film (mounted in a film holder in the back of the camera) and the flash attachment used 1-time use flash bulbs.  The strong flash gave photographs the telltale high contrast look of news and paparazzi photographs from the 40’s and 50’s.  Dorothea Lange used a similar Graflex model (series D) to shoot iconic images for the Farm Securities Association from 1935-1939.

TWIN LENS REFLEX CAMERAS

Rolleicord Model 1 manufacutred 1934-1936Woightlander Brilliant, manufactured in 1937.Twin-lens reflex cameras use two lenses, one to view and focus through (above) and one to take the photograph (below).  A 45° mirror sends the image from the viewing lens to a piece of glass (called ground glass) for focusing.  The photographer looked down through the camera, which was usually at waist level.  These cameras used medium format, or 120, film. Rolleiflex, introduced in 1929 and used a square format (it was difficult to photograph with the camera placed on its side).

BRASSAï & THE MEDIUM FORMAT

Hungarian photojournalist George Brassaï began his career with a Voigtlander camera and continued to photograph with the Rolleiflex, long after many of his contemporaries began using the more convenient 35mm models.  He did not like the square film format, however, and cropped most of his images.

LEICA 35mm CAMERAS

Leica Camera

Leica iif camera, produced between 1953 and 1955. (2007.005.7.009)

Produced in Germany by Leica Camera AG, the Leica Camera popularized the 35 mm format and is considered to be responsible for the beginning of modern photojournalism.  The camera used standard cinema film, and it’s small size made it ideal for photographing fast paced, and often dangerous, news events.

HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON AND THE LEICA

French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004), often referred to as the father of photojournalism, began using the 35mm format in 1931, when he purchased a Leica camera, much like the one displayed here.  Cartier-Bresson photographed often for Life Magazine, travelling to places like Russia and China,

Cartier-Bresson described his style as the Decisive Moment:

“it is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.”

35mm CAMERAS

Mamiya MSX 500, manufactured c. 1975: 2011.018.273Nikkormat EL, manufactured between 1972-1976This became the most popular film and camera format, both among professionals and amateurs.  Sturdy and multifunctional, with interchangeable lenses, these cameras found their way into civil wars, riots, and natural disasters around the necks of daring photojournalists.  Once exposed, the film was wound conveniently back into light-tight metal canisters that would protect the film until it could be developed.

CHARLES MOORE

American Civil Rights photographer Charles Moore is most known for his photographs of the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham Alabama in 1964.   His powerful images of the struggle for civil rights were published in the book “Powerful Days”. Photographs like these helped raise awareness of the need for a Civil Rights act in America.

For more information or to see more from the Ryerson University Library Special Collections, email specialcollections@ryerson.ca or call 416-979-5000 ext. 4996.

For more information on the Ryerson Image Centre or the Black Star Collection, please visit their website at http://www.ryerson.ca/ric/ or cal 416-979-5164.

 

The Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection at Ryerson University

1920s studio camera from the Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection

The Heritage Camera Collection more than doubled in size this past January thanks to the generous donation of approximately 500 cameras and pieces of camera equipment from Wilfrid Laurier University. The collection improves the holdings in European and Japanese manufacturers, and provides a greater selection for research in early camera designs. These cameras are on display inside Special Collections.

"Mouse trap" camera developed by William Henry Fox Talbot, ca. 1834 (replica made 2006) from the Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection

Watch Camera from the Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection

Polaroid 110A from the Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection

Crystar camera next to Pony 135 for size comparison. The Crystar measures only _. From the Wilhelm E. Nassau Camera Collection.

Kodak in the News for the last time?

In a shocking but not completely unforeseen announcement last week, the Kodak corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States.

Happier were the good ol' days of film production / 1937 advertisement from the Kodak Canada Corporate Archives & Heritage Collection

As little as a decade ago, the future for Kodak still seemed bright. Company literature produced in the 1990s confirmed Kodak Canada’s optimism that digital photographers would continue to look to Kodak for leadership and innovation in image-taking technologies. The move to digital would be slow and considered, with Kodak confident that the right product was better than any product.

Kodak Photo CDs were marketed to professionals as well as amateur photographers for digital image storage / 1993 photograph of Digital Imaging showroom from the Kodak Canada Corporate Archives & Heritage Collection

Was this transition too slow? Is Kodak still the master camera-maker it once was? Ryerson Professor Robert Burley and Curatorial Specialist Beth Knazook speculate on the unfortunate circumstances that have left Kodak in its current position.

Matt Galloway speaks with Robert Burley on CBC’s Metro Morning radio show (Thursday, Jan 19 2012): http://www.cbc.ca/metromorning/episodes/2012/01/19/unthinkable/

CBC reporter Havard Gould interviews Robert Burley and Beth Knazook for The National (Thursday, Jan 19 2012): http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/TV_Shows/The_National/1233408557/ID=2188640879