A compelling survey of the professional lives and historic photographs of Canadian women.
As Canada took shape in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the camera was both a witness to colonialism, capitalism, and gendered and racialized social organization, as well as an unlikely protagonist. Women across the country, whether residents or visitors, photographed people and places that were entirely new to the lens. This book examines how they did so, and the meanings their work carries.
The author surveys the professional lives and photographs of nearly eighty women—studio portraitists, travel documentarians, photojournalists, fine artists, hobbyists, and photographic printers—from Lucy Maude Montgomery on Prince Edward Island to Élise Livernois in Quebec City, and from Margaret Bourke-White in the Arctic to Hannah Maynard on Vancouver Island. Presenting the exceptional range and impact of their work, Rare Merit proves that women’s practices and images—knowingly omitted from founding narratives of photographic history—were diverse, compelling, widespread, and influential.
About the Author
Colleen Skidmore is a professor emerita at the University of Alberta, Canada. She is the author of Searching for Mary Schäffer: Women Wilderness Photography and This Wild Spirit: Women in the Rocky Mountains of Canada.