Shoppers during the October 2021 Vancouver Used Camera Sale. (John Enman photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Annual Vancouver used camera sale

The organizer of the yearly Vancouver used camera sale, Tonchi Martinic wrote, “After all this time of this COVID crisis, I am happy to tell you that I am going to have the Vancouver Camera Swap Meet on Oct. 17, 2021”.

I have been a participant at that event for about 20 years and as I have said many times, I enjoy talking about, looking at and touching cameras almost as much as I like using cameras.

Because of the pandemic the annual Vancouver Camera Swap Meet had been cancelled for well over a year and as my friend Jo and I lugged our equipment into the large bustling hall I could feel the excitement of those that had been anxiously waiting.

There were a lot of smiles, hellos and waves from the many people getting their camera equipment ready for the sale.

Jo and I had come down the night before so we could get up early for the 7:30 a.m. setup. I remember the early morning trips from my home in Pritchard. We’d leave at 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning, take a dark drive through the coastal mountains, sell equipment all day and make another dark drive back home after the show at 4 p.m.

Jo and I arrived in Vancouver Saturday afternoon and planned on an evening of street photography at the Richmond Night Market. The advertisement said, “Reminiscent of the all-night shopping extravaganzas seen across Asia, the Richmond Night Market offers a food and retail experience unmatched anywhere else in Canada. You’ll find retailers selling unique accessories and knick-knacks at street-side prices. There’s a diverse array of nightly live entertainment ranging from music and dance performances to carnival games and rides.”

However, that plan was a bust as strong wind and heavy rain moved into Vancouver mid afternoon and stayed till the early morning. As I write there is snow on the high road so we have to wait till next summer. Oh well, maybe it was for the best. We were well rested and ready for a busy day at the camera sale.

As I wrote, there was a lot of excitement at the sale. Everyone was setting up when we arrived, and many were making quick visits to other tables to find treasures before the doors to the public were opened.

Like the camera sale we attended last September, masks were required for anyone walking into the hall. This time there also was security and everyone had to show proof that they had been double vaccinated. I was told there was a long line of people standing in the rain waiting to come in, so the organizer was limiting the number of people in the hall.

I do prefer shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, but the times are different and I appreciate that the organizers were doing their best to keep us all safe and healthy.

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.” ~ Alfred Eisenstaedt

Like the last used camera sale most photographers seemed to be looking for film cameras and related equipment. Besides tables filled with 35mm film cameras there were lots of 8×10, 4×5, and medium format cameras available and, of course, tripods, all kinds of darkroom paraphernalia, studio equipment and gosh, lots of antique photo equipment. That’s just naming a bit of the bargains that were waiting to be perused and purchased.

I did bring several modern auto focus lenses and a two Mirrorless digital cameras, but the younger crowd showed little interest in them opting instead to look at the kind of cameras that I had used before most of them were born.

I did get some time to wander around. As always, looking at, touching and discussing some really neat camera equipment with other photographers. Some had come from where my shop was in Kamloops and I met lots of people…it was so much fun. Gosh, almost as much fun as making pictures.

I’ll finish this with a quote by Canadian singer Celine Dion (I have used it before, but I do like it).

“I don’t know if the camera likes me, but I do like the camera”.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at or


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