Something transformational happened to Art Chow (MSE PhD 6T6) when he was in second year of his program in 1956: the undergrad student was on his way to the gym at Hart House Fitness Centre when he stumbled upon the Camera Club, one of the oldest student photography clubs in North America.
The synergy must have been arresting: Here was Hart House, offering a range of opportunities from fitness to photography; and there was young Chow, an uber-creative science student with a growing passion for photography. (A resourceful kid who picked up his first camera at ten years of age, he had built his own darkroom extracting materials from unorthodox sources, including the local dump where he repurposed an old car headlight.)
“It was an amazing experience to learn from so many talented photographers,” he describes the Hart House Camera Club with fondness.
In the Club, with its top-notch features such as a good enlarger and proper washing facilities, Chow had free rein to experiment with film, putting nylons over the camera lenses to create a certain effect. He also raised some eyebrows when he submitted his photo “Red” to the Camera Club exhibition in the black-and-white category. (It was, technically, black and white; he had just toned it to red.)