William McFarlane Notman
Main Street, Winnipeg, c. 1888
albumen on paper mounted to card
19.5 x 24 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from the Photography Endowment of The Winnipeg Art Gallery Foundation Inc.
William McFarlane Notman was the son of William Notman (1826–1891), the first Canadian photographer to garner an international reputation. He began working in his father’s studio in 1873. This piece comes from an album commissioned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and reveals the early illustrative function of photographs. At the time this photograph was taken it would have been used to promote Winnipeg as an ideal place for further settlement. Similar to his father’s style, Notman documented the activity of the urban environment from a distance, reducing complicated shapes and lines to the bare essentials. Seen through a contemporary lens, this image is a powerful comment on the dominance of industry and the demise of the wild west.
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