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This camera belonged to John Vanderpant (1884–1939), an important Canadian photographer. The heavy wear on the metal body and leather bellows suggests the camera was used extensively. The National Gallery of Canada acquired the camera from Vanderpant’s children, and subsequently transferred it to the Museum in 1990.
The Ansco Vest Pocket 2 was designed for use by advanced amateur photographers. It is a medium format, folding camera that produces a 2¼ x 3¼ in. (approx. 6 x 9 cm) negative on roll film. This version of the Vest Pocket 2 features an f6.3 Ansco Anastigmat lens. A milled focusing ring provides seven manual settings between 6 and 100 ft. (1.8 and 30.5 m). The Bionic diaphragm shutter is adjustable for instantaneous exposures from 1/10 to 1/200 second. Longer exposure times are possible using the time (T) or bulb (B) settings. An unusual feature of this camera is the hinged lens cover (missing from this example).
Born in The Netherlands, John Vanderpant worked for a time in Okotoks, Alberta, before establishing a portrait studio and art gallery in Vancouver after the First World War. Vanderpant was a major influence on Canadian photography in the 1920s and 1930s, exhibiting his work at international salons and mounting solo exhibitions that toured North America and Europe. Early in his career, Vanderpant was influenced by the soft focus imagery of pictorialism. His later work tended toward abstraction, reflecting modernist concerns with light and form.