Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Day Oners 4

One of the first photos taken in the makeshift darkroom in the days before the Toronto Sun's debut on Nov. 1, 1971, was of the fabulous trio of Day One photographers.

Norm Betts, Jac Holland and Dave Cooper, standing proud with their arms folded, were proven Toronto Telegram photographers about to show their talent as tabloid lensmen.

Wasyl Kowalishen, the camera shy darkroom tech, wasn't in the photo but was among the early arrivals prepared to kick start the Sun into a reality. More about Wasyl later.

Day One photographers:

(13) Norm Betts: Few Toronto Sun photographers put the "tabloid" in the tabloid more than jovial Norm Betts. His tricks of the trade for capturing unique, award-winning photos included wearing a cap with a bird on top to catch the attention of Princess Diana. And his Page 3 SUNshine Girls made him the envy of every guy in town. Who can forget Sandy, a model and supply teacher, rising out of the water? She was the talk of the town, as were many of Norm's Page 3 girls. The girls made famous by the early photographers have been banished to the back pages, reduced in size and now compete for space with round red promotional .com plugs. Norm moved on in the late 1990s, but remains a photography force in new endeavors.

(14) Dave Cooper: The last drop of booze poured during the wake for the Telegram had barely been consumed when Dave and the photo crew booked into the second floor darkroom in the creaky Eclipse Building to prepare for the Sun's launch. The small but professional photo staff didn't waste any time collecting local, provincial and national awards. Dave and other 1970s photographers often pushed the envelope with photos they felt suited a tabloid, but they didn't always get past Ed Monteith, the managing editor. Nonetheless, the Sun did shine with tabloid photo fare. Dave was the first Day One photographer to leave the roost. The Toronto Star beckoned in the mid-70s and he made the move. The Star agreed with Dave. Three decades later, he is still at 1 Yonge. (Photo needed)

(15) Jac Holland: As with most Sun staffers in the 70s, Jac and the dark room crew were good sports. Exhibit A would be a SUNshine Boy group photo set up by Lifestyle editor Joan Sutton, with Peter Worthington in a swim suit thrown in for good measure. There was Jac, sitting in a tub of water, being a good sport. There was always room for play among the professionals and readers loved it all. Jac worked at the Sun well into the 1980s before moving on to other photo ventures. Jac took with him a respectable portfolio of Sun photos and Angie, a Sun staffer and love of his life. (Photo needed)

Next: Art department, messengers and secretaries

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