TPHS NEWS January 2015 & PhotoHistory XVI REPORT

January 15 Meeting:

Sharon Bloemendaal’s topic is, “The Only US Camera Museum.” The non-profit Camera Heritage Museum in Staunton, Va. was founded in 2011.  David Schwartz is curator and features many of his cameras in the former bank/camera shop. Sharon and Jack toured the collection last January.

On display are more than 3,000 cameras, including one of the aerial cameras used to film the Pearl Harbor attack—presented to the museum by the Japanese photographer! 
The collection received 900 cameras from the A. Lewis Bernard vintage camera collection from Louisiana State University at Lafayette, as well as  600 cameras from the collection of Bob & Sue Dickler of Williamsburg VA and 900 Brownies from the McLeod family of North Carolina—and many other cameras. (see 
Schwartz notes that this is now the only camera museum open to the public in the US.

 We meet at 7:30 p.m. on the third Thursday at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Pittsford Plaza, 3349 Monroe Ave. in Pittsford, NY.

The nominating committee has presented the slate for voting on January 15.  Candidates are: president,  Eugene Kowaluk; vice-president, N. M. Graver;  treasurer, Marian Early;  program coordinator, Martin Scott; secretary,  _______________; newsletter editor, Taylor Whitney; hospitality,  Ken Nelson; web site, Mike Champlin and past president, Jack Bloemendaal.


Feb. 19: Grant Romer, daguerreotypist and long-time GEH staff member, will speak on “Daguerre’s 1839 Gift to the Czar: A Daguerreotype Tryptich.” Romer was among a team of experts who evaluated them. These were the first photographs publicly exhibited in Russia.

 MARCH 19: Chris Holmquist’s topic is “There Must Be Something in the Water: A Brief History of Photographic Entrepreneurs in Western New York.” He is an object preparer at George Eastman House, but moved to Rochester to study this history as a chemical photography enthusiast and historian.


Frank Mehlenbacher has returned home to  1 Doral Court, Pittsford, N.Y.  14534. His phone number is 586-5811. The best time to call is evenings from 7 to 9 p.m., or leave a message. Frank’s grandfather, Frank A. Brownell, was  recently listed as a “Remarkable Rochesterian’  in the Democrat and Chronicle.  Brownell was the third manufacturer of cameras in Rochester; he made cameras for George Eastman. The first camera manufactured in Rochester was the Walker in 1880; the second  by the Rochester Optical 1882, according to Todd Gustavson at GEH.

Tom Hope suffered a stroke on Christmas Eve. He is working hard at therapy at St. John’s Home, where his wife, Mabeth, lives. Cards are welcome at 3 Reservoir, 150 Highland Ave., Rochester NY 14620.

Rolf Fricke is recovering from trigeminal neuralgia.

Gene Garland, former member and owner of Main Camera in downtown Rochester, died in November.

 Mike Champlin reports on Web Presence:

Here is a link to our annual report by WordPress outlining some impressive figures for our web presence.
It shows our number of visits (9,900), where they come from (primarily North America) and what they are interested in (Our “About Us” page).


A very valuable set of metrics for us as we attack 2015…

PhotoHistory XVI  Symposium A Big Success

The symposium drew fascinating people from around the world. It went very well, thanks to the work of our dedicated committee. Jack Bloemendaal chaired the event. Marian Early worked very hard organizing registrations and payments. She did a beautiful job, and was assisted by Gene Renner.

Martin Sott was most professional in accepting those who responded to a call for papers, and introducing them and letting them know when their allotted time was up. The program committee also included Nicholas M. Graver and Andy Davidhazy

Sharon Bloemendaal, with assistance from Mike Sullivan, organized publicity.

Tim Fuss ably ran  the Photographic Show & Sale—and gratis appraisals as well.

Eugene Kowaluk and Mike Champlin handled the audio-visual aspect of the presentations. 

Jeff Schwartz garnered donations for drawings. We thank the donors: Grant Haist for 14 copies of his book on Kodak cameras. Societies donating a year’s membership included the Photographic Society of New England and Photographic  Historical Society of Canada. Jeff Schwartz donated a collection of Kodak Olympic pins. 

We also appreciate the work of the late Joy Parker (Mike Champlin’s wife), for her skills as web coordinator and social media.

This great team put together  the best symposium yet!

Thank you to George Eastman House for offering the Curtis Theatre for the lunch venue, to Joe Blackburn for playing organ during the lunch hours, and to TPHS liaison Alan Buell. 

Thank you to Bob Lansdale of the Photographic Historical Society of Canada, who again carefully recorded the whole event. Look for these photos on the internet.

Also Eugene Kowaluk took photos, as did Sharon Bloemendaal. See

Thank you to Janice Schimmelman, who donated 170 copies of her book, American Photographic Patents: The Daguerreotype & Wet Plate Era 1840-1880. She also signed many of these books for the pleased recipients. The book lists 812 inventions and 22 design patents related to photography, in numerical order. Also, 41 patents are described in detail and illustrated. The index is most helpful.

We welcomed two young enthusiasts. Preston Sergent, a 9th-grader from Clifton Springs NY, learned about the symposium online, and asked his mother to bring him. He even brought proof from his school that he was a student! A sixth-grader, Joel Ryman, from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, came with his father, Clarence, and enjoyed the talks and even shopped at the trade show.


The talks were a highlight—diverse and well-done. Program chairman Martin Scott wisely varied the times of each talk, noting on the program only the talks before the next break.

Jack Bloemendaal initiated the day, asking how many were returnees ( a large number). Two attendees had attended all 16 symposia: Nick Graver and Sharon Bloemendaal. Jack introduced Dr. Bruce Barnes, director of George Eastman House, who welcomed visitors to the GEH Dryden Theatre, which was recently renovated. All appreciated the comfortable seats. 

Program chairman Martin Scott introduced each speaker.

Dr. Bruce Barnes noted that 2013 was the 125th anniversary of the Kodak camera. George Eastman House opened to the public in 1949.  He reported that the museum collection has more than 400,000 photographic objects, 28,000 motion pictures, two million film stills, and thousands of cameras and other pieces of photographic and cinematographic technology.

Barnes said that approximately 6,000 photographs came from the Gabriel Cromer collection (originally purchased by Kodak in 1939, transferred to George Eastman House in 1948), more than 13,000 photographs from the Alden Scott Boyer collection (donated by Boyer in the early 1950s), and 61,000 photographs from the Lewis Walton Sipley collection (donated by the 3M Corporation in the 1970s), including 1,600 photographs by pictorialist and portraitist Elias Goldensky.

In addition, George Eastman House holds more than 1,200 daguerreotypes by Southworth & Hawes, a portion of which are now housed in argon-filled anodized-aluminum-and-glass enclosures.  The Walter Johnson post-mortem collection includes about 1,000 photographs; the Donald Weber collection contains more than 260 daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes, as well as other 19th- and early-20th-century photographs. The collection has examples of early color photography, including a photograph by Louis Ducos Du Huron dated circa 1869, Joly plates, two-color Kodachromes, and autochromes.

The collection also contains works by Alfred Steiglitz, Edward Steichen (approximately 3,000 photographs), Alvin Langdon Coburn (more than 1,000 photographs), and Lewis Hine (nearly 10,000 photographs). Others strong holdings of the collection include photographs by Nickolas Murray, Victor Keppler, László Moholy-Nagy, and Ansel Adams (about 300 photographs).

Dr. Barnes summed up, “What really creates the core of a great collection is gifts by collectors and gifts by artists.”

 Dr. Michael Pritchard,  head of the UK’s Royal Photographic Society, addressed the United Kingdom photographic periodical press from 1859-1914. The earliest was The Photographic Journal, first published by The Photographic Society in 1853: a monthly—then bi-monthly  (later called the Royal Photographic Society). He showed examples of the Liverpool  Photographic Journal,  The British Journal of Photography, and Thomas Sutton’s Photographic Notes (1850-1868; Michael noted that Sutton had gusto, but was abrasive),  The Photographic News (independent), Amateur Photographer (1884), with a circulation of 1,000 copies, and by 1853, 4,000; British Journal of Photography  (circulation 7,000; by 1886, 15,000; and c. 1910, 25,000). The Photographer focused on editorial; Wade W. Abney quoted its “unspeakable dullness.”

Virginia Dodier,  librarian at George Eastman House, told of the library’s move, the multi-media classroom, the photographic preservation collections management, the material culture social historians. The library is open by appointment from 10-12 and 1-4 Tu-Thu. See

“Working Without Pictures; Recovering the Early Years of American Photography was led by Greg Drake, who said, “Most daguerreotypes are unsigned and unattributable.” Through using newspaper accounts and real estate records, photograhic studios can be traced and daguerreotypes described, but most are lost.

In addition, studios changed managers, “In 1841, one Boston studio was under three owners in a week’s time,” said Drake.

He noted that Robert Cornelius of Philadelphia took the earliest self-portrait. He said that Samuel F. Morse was active from 1840-1841, Samuel Bemis made 350 exposures in 1843.  One 1840 photo was of a Harvard 30-year reunion. However, without attribution or signatures, said Drake, “I think of it as the Lost Picture Generation.”

“The Digital Single-Lens Reflex: Born and Raised in Rochester,” was led by James McGarvey. He noted that Steve Sasson’s first digital camera took 30 seconds to record an image, and it held .01 megapixels.

At Eastman Kodak McGarvey helped  design a digital camera for the US government  that would take 80 images and need a connection to a hefty backpack. 

By  1991 the first digital camera was in space.  In 1993 Canon worked with Kodak on the Quick Take. The DCS 460 was better quality and used by John Glen in 1994. The DCS20 showed a profit for three months.

For a copy of his well-done timeline see

Ken White spoke of “Teaching the History of Photography in the Digital Age, noted the challenge of dealing with 19-21 -year–old millennials with their I-phones. One assignment was to construct a room-sized camera obscura.

According to Ralph London, most still cameras manufactured in the US from the 1840s to the 1980s came from California, plus a contiguous region of 17 states from New England extending west to Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri. Four states had the most companies: New York (100+, mostly in New York City area and Rochester), Illinois (60+, nearly all in Chicago), Massachusetts (22, mainly the Boston area), California (20, primarily Los Angeles area). Other states are Pennsylvania (8), Minnesota (7), Missouri (5), Ohio (4), Texas (3), Indiana (2), Oregon (2) and Iowa (1). Companies were counted if they made their own cameras rather than merely putting their names on those made by others. Companies were not included if they made only prototypes or very few samples. He concluded, “Company counting is complex and chancy.” 

Colin Ford had health issues and was unable to travel from England, so he sent a well-done video on Hungarian photographers: Robert Capa,  Rudolf Balogh, Eva Besnyo, Karoly Escher, Martin Munkacsi, Andre Kertesz (he showed photos of WWI soldiers on duty), Pet Naplo, Brassai, Kati Horna, Lucien, László Moholy-Nagy, Peter Komiss and Sylvia Plachy.  He reported that Robert Capa said about photographers, ‘It’s not enough to have talent, you have to be Hungarian. “

Hungary lost 2/3 of its land and the population became more concentrated, Fascist and anti-semitic. The photographs shown were more melancholy, with a Hungarian distinctiveness.

Jeremy Rowe spoke on “Georeferencing the Work of Historical 19th-Century Photographers in Arizona and New York City,” saying that the location, time and serendipity are important parts of  the research process. He compared makers of cameras and lenses (US vs European), plates (Scovile vs. French companies), chemicals (Philadelphia vs Paris), mats, company ads, the supply chain, and the way in which the materials  were sold.  He looked into cases– leather and thermoplastic .  He studied city directories, noting many printing errors, but finding changed addresses of photographers.

“Spy Satellites, the Cold War, and Kodak” was the topic for K. Bradley Paxton, who spoke of the Lunar Orbiter, Samos and Gambit Spy Satellites, and the significance of the Gambit Program during the Cold War. In the 1950s a lot of the Samos E-I missiles blew up on the pad.

 Rudolf Kingslake designed a 36″ lens for the Lunar Orbiter in 1966-67; all five missions were successful. The Lunar Orbiter is now in the Smithsonian.

 The Gambit, 5 feet in diameter by 15 feet long, held 3,000 feet of film. An LBJ quote in 1967 admitted that “we know how many missiles the enemy has; we’re doing things we didn’t need to do.”

President Carter in 1978 noted that photo reconnaissance satellites had become a stabilizing factor. President Reagan announced that the Gambit program kept the world from developing WWIII.

Peter Schultz spoke on the research that he and his wife Barbara had done on the Trumbull Panoramic camera. The wide-angle camera has wings, with a lens pivoting  (using a Flanmongs patent of 1894). Trumbull was born in 1833 near Rutland, VT;  the family later moved to north Chicago. Trumbull used a clockwork mechanism for the tiered tripod in 1898. He took a multiple selfie with the 360-degree camera.

Peter and Barbara Schultz acquired the Turnbull camera in 1970 and have been researching it. The camera’s backers had unreasonable expectations; the economy around 1900 was poor, and Kodak came out with its 180-degree  Panoramic camera. The Trumbull camera was too expensive; it was never produced.

Nick Bandreth enthusiastically told of the historic process workshops at Eastman House, discussing the dry plates, gelatin emulsion, and negative retouching. Bandreth and Mark Osterman teach courses in 19th-century processes: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and salted paper prints.

The Finger Lakes area southeast of Rochester, NY once had many photographic studios.  For 40 years Nicholas M. and Marilyn Graver studied ads, and searched the older parts of towns of all sizes to find a northlight—the angled large window that let in an even light for portraits.  Nick formerly offered an 11-hour and 190-mile tour showing the many buildings found. He talked of Augustus Coleman (1836-1888) who worked in downtown Canandaigua  in 1859. He knows of five daguerreotypes by Coleman.

Frederick Thompson of Sonnenburg (a mansion and now a museum in Canandaigua NY) was an amateur photographer and organized the Amateur Photographic Exchange club, which shared their photos.

Nick talked of Marshall Finley, who read about the daguerreotype process and tried it, eventually getting a patent.

Nick showed photos of northlights found in earlier jaunts, that were eventually covered up. He recommends that listeners look for a huge expanse of windows, sometimes at a slant, on the north side of a building. These should be recorded before disappearing.

Jennifer Cisney, social media manager for Kodak Alaris, talked of changes in photography over the past 20 years as a result of not only digital photography but the internet, social media and the camera phone. She noted that in 2012 there were 380 billion pictures taken a year. “Every two minutes we take more pictures than in all of the 1800s.”

Cisney says that social media is today’s equivalent of the Kodak Carousel for sharing photos with others. Facebook stores 250 billion photos, there are 5 billion mobile phones in use around the globe, of which 4.4 billion are camera phones, and 1.2 billion are smart phones. “As a result, I am seeing an explosion in creativity in photography,” she said — in documenting, story telling and self expression.

What is next? Drones, even for wedding photos.

What does this say about our perception of ourselves? In times of crisis, such as the Boston Marathon, the media posted online a graphic photo of a victim with a severed leg.

Questions exist:  copyright issues, outrage or boycott. “The internet is a great regulator.” She notes that participants should examine their privacy settings on Facebook. “Google algorithms  know what you have looked at.”

“Be aware of what you say outside of your job, because it still reflects on your brand.”

Sunday’s Trade Show

The Photographic Show & Sale offered hundreds of daguerreotypes and everything from cabinet cards to cameras, books, and ephemera. There were 70 tables filled; and people were shopping enthusiastically.  The free admission and free appraisals at 1 p.m. kept the momentum going. It was a great time also for getting to know other collectors and historians. 

Books  Donated

TPHS offered books for sale at the Photographic Show & Sale to benefit the club. Thank you to Adele Shepard, who donated some books on the history of photography from the collection of her late father, Charles Shepard. Formerly a member of TPHS,  he was a patent attorney. Adele also donated  several duplicate photographic  patents (including Zeiss) from the 1960s and ’70s.

Thank you to Nick Graver for helping appraise these books. He recommended simply type in the last name of the author and the title, and see what price is set by several different dealers. 

Also, thanks to  Dave Kotok, who donated eight bound volumes of  a 1940s photo magazine. Other books were donated by the Bloemendaals. 

A Kodak Tour

We thank Michael Alt, director of Eastman Business Park (formerly Kodak Park) for a Friday morning (Oct. 10) tour for Fiona Kinsey, an Australian guest who is senior curator for Museum Victoria in Melbourne, which holds the Kodak Australasian Heritage collection. A few members joined the tour. Attendees enjoyed seeing Building 26, Eastman’s memorial and his office, film splitters, perforators and packaging. Nick Graver collected a few pieces of the stone that had fallen from an early Kodak building. You might say he has history in the palm of his hand.

We were told that the photo of the groundbreaking ceremony for Kodak Park was attended by Frederick Douglas; also in the picture was President Harrison, as George Layne pointed out.

We learned that there are 1800 Kodak employees at Eastman Business Park, as well as 57 other companies on the site. In two years three small refineries will make ethanol there. Eastman Kodak has one of the largest manufacturing sites in the US, at 1250 acres, or more than two square miles, with a short line rail with a locomotive owned by EK.  EK demolished 40 buildings, with 120 still standing. The Kodak smokestack is 407 feet tall; the Xerox Tower is the only structure in Rochester that is higher.


Open House

Jack & Sharon Bloemendaal offered an evening open house at their home on Oct. 9 and a small get-together on Oct. 12. They reported entertaining guests from Australia, Canada, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Rochester.


November Meeting Report: Underwater Photography

The group was fascinated as Milton C. Shares spoke on “Photographs: Underwater & Slides–and a Camera Collection.” He has done much underwater photography, including helping with Kodak’s underwater Colorama—an arduous task (he even met Buzz Aldren in the process). He even patented a water-proof suitcase.

 He began making underwater housings for cameras in 1954.  His favorite camera, a Nikon F, used  tubular plexiglass with a dome he formed in the oven. He noted that a man in Fairport NY made the plastic gears to link the controls. He made housings for many other cameras. In fact, one company that provided standard-size plastic housings recommended that he make the housings for hard-to-fit cameras.

He also helped photograph Lake Champlain’s two-horse-power ferry boat in the  1980s.  The 18 x 60-foot ferry (sunk in 45 feet of water) had a circular rotating platform powered by two horses, with a gear to reverse it. They formed a ladder-looking devise to photograph a grid on the sunken ship. After moving it ahead over the frame, they were able to photograph and piece the 80 photos together and present it to the University of Vermont. An article on it was printed in National Geographic

His audio-visual productions included, “The Whats and Whys of Clean Rooms,” to help explain  their importance to employees.

Shares also recommended that all of us write our memoirs. He wrote one, and his family said he missed several high points, so he has since written 14 more vignettes.  Milton’s wife Kay also attended the meeting. She worked in roll coating at Eastman Kodak, and also worked for EK in Washington, D.C. 

D.C. Antique Photo & Postcard Shows March 15, Holiday Inn Rosslyn, 1900 N. Ft. Myer Dr., Arlington VA ;
Ryerson Image Center Symposium, “Photography Historians: A New Generation” will be held March 26-28, 2015  in Toronto. The focus is on art, culture, class and power, according to Thierry Gervais
New York Photo Show April 17-18, at the Lighthouse, 111 East 59th St.
George Eastman House 

The exhibition preview at GEH is January 22: at 6:30 p.m. for opening remarks and a 7-9 p.m. reception. “In Glorious Technicolor” celebrates the 100 years of the Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation, with posters, behind-the-scenes photographs and cameras.  The Hollywood studio made classics such as “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) and “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952). Also opening on Jan. 22 is “aura satz: eyelids leaking light,”  the work of the London-based artist. Admission is $18 for non-members. RSVP by January 20 at 585-271-3361. 

The recent book, The Dawn of Technicolor, 1915-1935 by James Layton and David Pierce, will be available. The authors will speak at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 24 at the Dryden Theatre. Non-member admission is $6.

William Green, curatorial assistant in the Department of Photography will discuss his selections for the History of Photography Gallery on the opening day of the newest rotation. The talk is on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 12:15 p.m in the Curtis Theatre. Free to members; non-member admission is $6.

See for information on events.

The Photograhic Historical Society dues for 2015 are $20.
 Note to Readers:
I apologize for the lateness of the newsletter. Christmas overwhelmed me. If you would like to hear why, please e-mail me to receive a copy of our Christmas newsletter (published since 1962):
Sharon Bloemendaal


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