1888 Family Photos

Standing Rock Reserve 1888

I’ve been researching my family history with a particular interest in the photographs taken by family members. Some that particularly interest me are by Lyman N Cary. (He was married to my grandfather’s sister.)

In 1888, Cary used nitrate negatives and a Kodak Camera #1 and took photographs of Mandan, North Dakota. The negatives were among our  family collection. So far, we don’t know who is the subject of the photographs. When  Toronto photographer Marco Buonocore realized they were nitrate and explosive, he stored them in a freezer and then under careful conditions,  printed the photographs using fiber based silver gelatine paper. They look fantastic.

Canadian Women Photographers

Photo by Mattie Gunterman
Vancouver Public Library Collection

PhotoEd magazine’s Spring/Summer 2017 issue published a 10 page feature article written by Laura Jones called Ten Women in Canadian Photo History Everyone Should Know About.

Laura chose some of her favourite Canadian Women Photographers to include in PhotoEd.  The topic of  early women photographers in Canada and around the world  has interested her for decades, having earlier curated an exhibition, Rediscovery: Canadian Women Photographers for the London Regional Art Gallery and co-edited a special photography issue of  the journal Canadian Women Studies. In recent years, she has presented her research at The Photographic Historical Society of Canada and The Toronto Arts & Letters Club.

Canadian Women Photographers

Photo by Mattie Gunterman
Vancouver Public Library Collection

Not much has been written about Canadian women photographers but I’m happy to say that the interest is gradually increasing. Here is an example of a photographer who I really like . She is Geraldine Moodie. I included this photo in an exhibition that I curated at the London Regional Art Gallery called Rediscovery, Canadian Women Photographers, 1840-1940.  The image is courtesy of the Glenbow Museum.

Geraldine Moodie was a successful studio photographer. Her first studio was opened in 1885. Later she had a studio in Maple Cree and a branch in Medison Hat, the capital of the North West territories. Her husband worked for the North West Mounted Police for 32 years. In 1903 he was promoted to superintendant with the role of claiming land for Canada. Geraldine sometimes traveled with him. On the ship, the “Arctic”, Geraldine Moodie took photographs as they traveled to Hudson’s Bay and the eastern Arctic. She was not the official photographer on the exploration but her work exceeded the quality of the official photographer yet today her photographs are historically significant. She raised six children, had two studios, and often lived under rough conditions. Quite the interesting woman.

There is now a book about Moodie that was written by Danny White called In Search of Geraldine Moodie. Great book.

It’s been about forty years that I have been obsessed with this topic.  Back in the 1970’s I had a small research grant. It got me started but I keep coming back to the topic. At first, I  traveled across Canada a couple of times, visiting collectors and archives and talking to groups about women photographers. (I had to look at the back of thousands of photos to find the women photographers.) Now it is much easier! I search through the web.

But it wasn’t just historical women that I wanted to promote. Back in the 70’s,  the University of Toronto only let men in the darkroom, so I opened up my darkroom to UofT students. It got written up in Time/Life yearbook and Popular Photography had a headline that said something like “Women Photo Liberationists are on the march in Canada.” In reality, there were less than ten of us and we formed a group called Women’s Photography Coop. We put on an exhibit and guest edited an issue of  “Image Nation” published by Coach House Press. Later we changed the name to Women in Photography and taught courses.

To bring this topic up to date, I am still pursuing this interest. In the past year, I gave a presentation to the Etobicoke Camera Club and a few years back to the Photographic Historical Society of Canada.


May 27, 2012 Photo Fair


Bennett and I will be at the Photographic Historical Society Photography Fair.  Our friend Peter Sinclair, a 3D photography enthusiast, is giving us a lift there which is a treat. The fair is low key with good deals. and a super  chance to talk photography, sell some things, buy some things and enjoy the day. Here is an example of a few fine pieces that we will bring. They’re photogravures from Camera Work by Frederick H Evans.

For info about location CLICK HERE



See us at the Toronto Old Paper Show


Sunday, April 1, my son Bennett and I will be heading to the Old Paper Show at Artscape Wychwood Barns. We’re selling stunning Camera Works gravures. These photogravures were printed on tissue thin paper  with the fine tonal range of a fine print. So far, we have chosen some by Eduard Steichen  and Karl Struss, but we aren’t limiting ourselves to photography. There will be a selection of gravure prints of drawings by Abraham Walkowitz.

If you let us know what you want, we’ll see if we have it.

Click here for link to Old Paper Show info

My Wikipedia featured photo

Mark Satin (far left) John Phillips (far right)
Coming to Canada

My photo of counseling draft dodgers in 1967 was nominated as a featured photo on Wikipedia. “This is a featured picture, which means that members of the community have identified it as one of the best images on the English Wikipedia, adding significantly to its accompanying article.”

In August 1967, John Phillips and I arrived in Toronto and were counseled by Mark Satin of the Toronto Anti-Draft Program.

After months of applications and hearings, the Algona, Iowa draft board denied John’s application for Conscientious Objector status, which would have allowed him to serve the United States for two years of alternative service to the military. The Draft Board decided to  “make a man” out of John and send him to Vietnam.

During one of John’s visits with the draft board, I sat reading the Ladies Home Journal and learned of the Toronto Anti-Draft Program and the possibility of Canada. The choices at the time were war, jail, or Canada. Many of our friends chose jail. We chose Canada.

When John was given the notice of 30 days to report, we dropped out of the Quaker college that we were attending in New York and headed to Spadina Ave. in Toronto.

It was the best life-choice for me – moving to Toronto with John. I found a sense of neighborliness and community here that contradicts stereotypes of city life. Even after forty years of being here, I still adore Toronto.

Mark Satin (far left) John Phillips (far right)


Voice Of The Artist (1971)


Detroit – Blight and Bright


All Photos by Laura Jones 2011

Photographic Historical Society of Canada

Another sale

Photographic Society of Canada

Annual photo fair

Being a sales person is not my skill. It is nice to make a sale but it is the discussions that surround the sale that I enjoy – such as occurred today at the Photographic Historical Society of Canada’s photo fair.  Pin-hole photography, 3D, the American civil war, Asian photography,   identification of photographs, types of cameras, printers, scanners – all in one day!

With help from three generations of our family, we stuffed an assortment of photographica from daguerreotypes, and ambrotypes; baby brownies and video cameras; to Ansel Adams note cards into boxes and headed to the Woodbridge Soccer Stadium to participate. Bennett, my son, and I spent many evenings spread over the last month talking about photography, deciding what to sell, what to keep, what to toss.

Yesterday, Zenon, my grandson, came over, helped organize and photographed the items that we decided to sell. This way we have photos of items that we once used. We tried to get the digital camera to photograph us when we winked. I took pictures of myself reflected in my no-longer-used safelights and staged others to capture the filter tones and at least one shadow picture – a growing digital self portrait collection. Multi-tasking?  (or just plain fun!)

Long ago memories returned of selling similar items at photo fair at Disney World when my sons were little. We sold plenty but I bought a glass-slide projector the size of a two-year old. We used it once about twenty-five years ago at a glass slides with tea party at the Baldwin St. Gallery. Anyone want to have a glass-slide party this summer?

But first back to this years fair, this morning bright and early, Morgan (who was actually born at the Baldwin St. Gallery of Photography) cheerfully arrived, even though he had a busy day planned. In between, he willingly packed the car and drove us to and from the fair.

An enthusiastic line had gathered and rushed in searching for bargains. Sales were quick for the first hour. (Remember this if you, come next year – come early! About a third of the vendors don’t stay until the end.)

We also bought. My favorite being a 3D book about the civil war. Bennett got some frames to put photos in and some earphones (not that I saw the connection of selling earphones at a photo fair)

The most interesting piece I saw at the fair was a dignified daguerreotype of blacks – It was not from the collections known as “slave daguerreotypes,” which were images that were taken to “prove” differences between blacks and whites.

Usually we sell and sometimes trade images but we brought more equipment this time. Displayed among our things were a manual-single-lens-reflex camera purchased years ago as part of  auction lot, which was so big, I could barely hold it.  No takers to buy it, but now, through conversation, I understand the camera and appreciate it. At a show like PHSoC, a collector searching for obscure items will know what you have.


So not only did the event provide an enjoyable preparation time, a little extra money from sales, a few choice “new” possessions, I learned new things.

Today’s fair was a success for me – one that isn’t a measurable success – like a business goal but one that succeeds by meeting the need to pursue an intense interest – photography. To be able to share this interest with my family – wow!

Bennett and I have already decided to set up a table at the photo fair in October. If you want to know more, email me and I’ll send you an announcement. We are already setting aside some things for our fellow photo friends.

After the fair, Bennett went straight to sleep on my couch because he works nights and had to leave for work for a night shift.  My inner home looked like it has been deep searched – barely a path is visible. A 7:00 Skype call would keep my video lens aimed closely on me, pretending a clean background.

First though, I wrote the blog but it turned out that  I couldn’t get the photos from my new camera. Who had the little devise last?  This sharing in the family of tiny items among three households makes hunting a challenge. It was found at Morgan’s home in a cloth bag with my Mini- Master Mind and mini Scrabble.   I went to his house to retrieve it. The family – Morgan, Lidia, Zenon, Lukie, and Zoriana were still gathered around the table from dinner and close to seeing who wanted to read and who wanted to play cards. I joined.

Then I learned -from a grandchild’s knowledge –  that I can simply put the smart card into the slot in the computer. I didn’t even need the devise. (Family, yes! – I still need them)   My son says, “if we want to know something about the computer, you have to ask his kids.”

Who teaches who? We teach each other!

Instead of going to sleep last night as I should, curiosity and enthusiasm captured me. I attempted research on the black daguerreotype  image that I had seen at the photofair and found some close possibilities. While having morning coffee, I thought of the possible  museum for this piece and will follow up.

FINAL WORDS  Just as I was leaving the fair another aspect of my life was touched by a sign on the wall about goals. Recently I took an amazing social media course with the Professional Writers Association of Canada. It’s top-notch group that I am active in and goal setting was part of our discussions. To get this photo,  an understanding  photo dealer needed to remove photos covering some of the wording.  I realized the photos were taken by the Canadian master portrait photographer, Karsh, but I wanted my little digital photo of  the sign. The dealer’s help was appreciated and a few seconds later, I had the photo. Ah digital!


India Travels (photos)


All Photos by Laura Jones 2011