Master Chef and the 1978 Vancouver Heritage Advisory Committee photos

Master Chef Cafe at 2400 E. Hastings Street  – 1978. What can I say about the shirtless guy in micro jean cut-offs?! (CoV Archives , CVA 786-83.19)

Oh man, how fantastic is this photograph?!  If you ever had the privilege of dining at Master Chef you would realize how special this image is. I had no idea that the restaurant I knew as a simple “old school” diner at one time sported a cool neon sign. This space is now home to “What’s Up? Hot Dog!”, but prior to that it was home to the best turkey club sandwich and home-cut fries that I’ve ever known.

Master Chef Turkey Club and “May’s world famous freshly cut fries”. (photo: C. Hagemoen)

In operation since 1953, and run by various owners over the years, the final version of Master Chef was owned and operated by Tony and May Fung ( Tony was out front and May did all the cooking) from 1993 to 2014. I first learned about Master Chef from a friend of mine around 2003. Ever since then, in my mind, it was the best place in the city for cheap & good old school diner food – and I miss it dearly.

My only wish with the 1978 image (top) is that the photographer had tilted their camera ever so slightly sky wards in order to capture the entirety of the billboards within the frame. Alas, it wasn’t one of those “Herzogian type” photographs, but part of a group of over 2000 recently described and digitized photographs from the City of Vancouver Archives. This inventory of heritage photos was part of a 1978 summer project by the Heritage Advisory Committee that was funded by B.C. Heritage Trust (acting as the project supervisor) and Young Canada Works (for students who carried out the work).

239 E. Hastings Street and 251 E. Hastings Street, Afton Hotel – 1978 (CoV Archives, CVA 786-49.31 & CVA 786-49.32)

Born out of the tremendous public outcry over the decision to demolish Vancouver’s iconic Birks Building, the Vancouver Heritage Advisory Committee was established initially as the Vancouver Heritage Advisory Board in October 1973. Despite the efforts of many concerned citizens, architectural professionals, and a committee of SOB’s (Save Our Birks Building), the Birks Building was demolished in May of 1974. The loss of the beloved heritage building mobilized the architectural preservation community in Vancouver.  By September 1974, the newly named Vancouver Heritage Advisory Committee (now Vancouver Heritage Commission) was working to advise council on a variety of heritage matters.

635-637 E. Hastings Street. The best part of this image is the sign beside the Shamrock Hotel that advertises horse meat roasts and steaks! (CoV Archives – CVA 786-45.11)

The photographs in this 1978 Heritage Advisory Committee survey were broader in scope and breadth than previous heritage surveys. The Committee wanted to include “buildings which had previously been considered of less social (and architectural) interest” and increase the survey breadth by attempting a more “thorough documentation of all areas of the city”.

House at 1843 E. 2nd Avenue – eventually replaced by a Vancouver Special (CoV Archives, CVA 786-73.10)

The Elcho was at  845 Davie Street, 1978. I love the garden space above the entrance. (CoV Archives, CVA 786-7.16)

The availability of these images is a boon to heritage professionals and amateurs alike. Not only as documentation of specific structures, but they are also valuable as evidence of how built Vancouver has changed over the years. Look at these images depicting the foot of West Georgia Street near Denman Street:

1729 W. Georgia Street, 1978. (CoV Archives, CVA 786-8.04)

1781 W. Georgia Street, 1978. (CoV Archives, CVA 786-8.03)

Without the inclusion of the trees of Stanley Park visible in the background of the image above, the area is virtually unrecognizable today.

Many images include aspects of social history (like advertising and fashions) which make them, in my opinion, doubly valuable. It’s hard to pick one’s favourites out of over 2000 photographs, but here are a few of mine:

2417 Main Street, 1978. (CoV Archives, CVA 786-61.18)

802 E. Hastings Street. Look closely and you’ll see a woman wearing the greatest pair of wide leg white jeans ever! (CoV Archives, CVA 786-45.07 )

628-630 Davie Street, 1978. (CoV Archives, CVA 786-7.12 )

1060 W. 6th Avenue, 1978. Now lost, this building if preserved would have been a most interesting warehouse conversion. (CoV Archives, CVA 786-8.11 )

1350 Nanaimo Street, moving east from Strathcona many Italian Canadians settled in Hastings-Sunrise. Look closely and you’ll see a banana seat bike leaning outside the store. (CoV Archives, CVA 786-76.06)

However, my favourite photo of the series doesn’t even depict a heritage building.

Clearly not a heritage building, but certainly worth documenting. Pontiac Firebird window display. (CoV Archives, CVA 786-62.19)

This photograph of a cool Pontiac Firebird window display was probably taken out of admiration by one of the student photographers working on the 1978 summer project. Clearly not part of the scope of the heritage building survey, I love that this image was included in the series.

Check out these great images on the City of Vancouver Archives website here.

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Reviving a Polaroid 360 Land Camera

Just because they don’t make film for a particular analogue camera anymore, doesn’t mean you should pass up the opportunity to own one. This is exactly what I thought  when I recently had the opportunity to take home a Polaroid 360 Land Camera (for free!).

My recently acquired Polaroid Land Camera model 360 with booklet. Photo: C.Hagemoen

My recently acquired Polaroid Land Camera model 360 with booklet [on a floor in desperate need of refinishing.] Photo: C.Hagemoen

At the very least I thought it would make a really cool objet d’art –  a great addition to my growing collection of vintage cameras. I was curious to learn more about my new acquisition so I did what anyone would do in this day and age, I “Googled” it.

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Side by Side

Keanu Reeves presents an in-depth look at the ‘analogue vs. digital’ cinematic revolution in the 2012 film “Side by Side” – a documentary that asks how film-making is changing in the digital age. As the title, “Side by Side”, suggests the documentary doesn’t argue for one format over another.

Since the beginning of movie making, over a hundred years ago, there was only one way to make a movie — with photochemical film.  But over the last two decades a digital process has emerged to challenge photochemical filmmaking. According to “Side by Side” producer and presenter Reeves, “Our goal was to explore the spectrum of opinion in the industry at a time when both film and digital are still used to shoot.”.

It is a pivotal time in the production moving images (and still images for that matter) do we abandon a process that has served us well for over 100 years, for one that is unquestionably easier, faster and more accessible? Or, is there room for both in today’s increasingly digital world? If you like movies, and are interested in how they are made, then I strongly suggest you see this film.

Through interviews with directors, cinematographers, film students, producers, technologists, editors, and exhibitors, “Side by Side” examines all aspects of filmmaking — from capture to edit, visual effects to color correction, distribution to archive. At this moment when digital and photochemical filmmaking coexist, “Side by Side” explores what has been gained, what is lost, and what the future might bring.

Side By Side (Official U.S. Trailer) – YouTube.

Polaroid SX-70, part 1

We have taken the speed of digital photography for granted; the digital camera allows you see the photo you have taken instantly. The image is there, but it is not tangible – just pixels on a screen. Imagine taking a photograph and then instantly having that photo artifact in your hands. In the middle of the last century, this was a revolutionary concept.

Edwin Land, a scientist and inventor,  founded the Polaroid Corporation in 1937. He is best known for developing the world’s first Instant camera, called the Polaroid Land camera.  In 1944, Land was inspired by his 3-year-old daughter’s confusion as to why a camera could not instantly produce pictures after they were taken – instant photography was born. It was the invention of instant film and the creation of the instant film camera that would make Polaroid a household name. The first Polaroid Land camera went on sale in 1948. More about Edwin Land and Polaroid can be found  here and also here.

Polaroid Land Camera

Polaroid Land Camera, ca. 1957-59. Photo: C. Hagemoen

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