Cur­rents

New ex­hibit ex­plores the legacy of an in­flu­en­tial Mon­treal pho­tog­ra­pher

Canada's History - - CONTENTS - — Mark Collin Reid

A rock that rocks in Win­nipeg. Hol­ly­wood’s Canuck con­nec­tion. Cel­e­brat­ing Mon­treal’s ground­break­ing pho­tog­ra­pher Wil­liam Not­man.

He turned a lens on our na­tion and doc­u­mented the growth of our coun­try. Along the way, he broke new ground in terms of tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tion and in­spired new gen­er­a­tions of pho­tog­ra­phers with his unique vi­sion.

Wil­liam Not­man is a tow­er­ing fig­ure in Cana­dian pho­tog­ra­phy. From 1860 to 1900, he took thou­sands of im­ages, of­ten us­ing pi­o­neer­ing dark­room tech­niques to cre­ate beau­ti­ful and com­pelling com­pos­ite im­ages. He was also an as­tute busi­ness­man and opened at least twenty-six fran­chised stu­dios in Canada and the United States.

Now the Not­man legacy is the sub­ject of a ma­jor ex­hibit that is tied to cel­e­bra­tions sur­round­ing the up­com­ing 375th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of Mon­treal and the 150th an­niver­sary of Con­fed­er­a­tion.

Not­man, A Vi­sion­ary Pho­tog­ra­pher is pre­sented by the McCord Mu­seum in Mon­treal and fea­tures three hun­dred im­ages and ob­jects from the mu­seum’s ex­ten­sive Not­man col­lec­tion.

While Not­man reg­u­larly pho­tographed the elite of early Canada — such as politi­cians and their fam­i­lies and other prom­i­nent ci­ti­zens — he also shot slice-of-life pho­tos and stun­ning land­scapes and por­traits that of­fer a unique vi­sion of life in nin­teenth-cen­tury Canada. And he made great ad­vances in com­pos­ite pho­tog­ra­phy, merg­ing many dif­fer­ent im­ages into one larger pho­to­graph.

The ex­hibit launched in Novem­ber 2016 and runs at the McCord un­til March 26, 2017, be­fore trav­el­ling to the Cana­dian Mu­seum of His­tory in Gatineau, Que­bec, and then to the Glen­bow Mu­seum in Cal­gary. Clock­wise from top left: Stormy day, Saint Cather­ine Street, Mon­treal, 1901; An­nie McDougall in Not­man’s stu­dio, Mon­treal, 1888; View of Ot­tawa from Rideau Falls, On­tario, 1869; Kah­nawà:ke lacrosse team, 1876; Percé, Que­bec, about 1901; Wil­liam Not­man, 1875, A bridge on the Cana­dian Pa­cific Rail­way, Bri­tish Columbia, 1889; A. H. Bux­ton, Mon­treal, 1887.

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