Historical Society of St. Catharines

Celebrating the history of St. Catharines and its vicinity

From Glass Negatives to Digital Images

Posted by dsharron on October 17, 2008

During the September 25 meeting, Dennis Cahill recounted some of the highlights and insights into his 43 year career as a photographer at the St. Catharines Standard newspaper.  Cahill’s talk was coupled around the recent opening of a new exhibit at the St. Catharines Museum entitled “Niagara Through the Lens: the Shots that set The Standard”.  The Museum recently acquired over 600,000 images covering over 70 years of photographs taken by 19 photographers at the Standard.  Cahill was personally responsible for over 100,000 images himself.



Cahill reminisced about listening to the police scanner by his bedside, having one of the first car phones, and being witness to some of the most important, tragic and amazing events in the Niagara area over the last 40 years.  Being a media photographer means being on call 24 hours a day.  There is more to taking a photo than pointing and clicking.  It takes a lot of skill to position oneself properly to catch an image that tells a story.  And for every picture that ends up in print, there are dozens of other quality photos that are never seen.  Cahill gave an idea of how the newspaper industry has changed over time.  He also spoke of the changes in camera equipment over the years from massive 4×5 cameras of the 1950s and 1960s to today’s digital cameras. 

The meeting was informative, artistic and nostalgic and the record crowd of over 120 people thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Cahill’s presentation.


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