Notman, Visionary Photographer: An Exhibition Not to Miss

January 3, 2019 at 4:44 pm  •  Posted in Exhibitions, News & Events by

Stormy day, Wm Notman & Son/William Haggerty, Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, 1901. Reversed glass plate negative. © McCord Museum

Stormy day, Wm Notman & Son/William Haggerty, Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, 1901. Reversed glass plate negative. © McCord Museum

Through April 14, the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa is presenting Notman, Visionary Photographer. If you haven’t yet had a chance to see it, there’s still plenty of time to check out this excellent exhibition of more 300 prints and objects from McCord Museum.

If you’re not already too familiar with his work, William Notman was Canada’s first internationally recognized photographer. And before you dismiss his work as being something dusty from the history books, I’ll add that William Notman had a surprisingly modern approach for a 19th-century photographer. His images are intriguing, creative and fun. In addition, he also explores studio trickery, retouching, and composite images in his work, so you never know what you’ll discover in his photographs. And the exhibition itself is exceptionally well done with interactive elements; large-scale, beautifully printed images; and an overall clean, appealing design. Before I knew it, I’d grabbed my notebook to take notes because I was so inspired by Notman’s work and ideas.

Loop showing four tracks on the Canadian Pacific Railway, Wm Notman & Son/William McFarlane Notman, B.C., 1889. Reversed glass plate negative. © McCord Museum

Loop showing four tracks on the Canadian Pacific Railway, Wm Notman & Son/William McFarlane Notman, B.C., 1889. Reversed glass plate negative. © McCord Museum

Chaudière Falls, William Notman, Ottawa, Ont., 1870. © McCord Museum

Chaudière Falls, William Notman, Ottawa, Ont., 1870. © McCord Museum

A. H. Buxton, Wm Notman & Son, Montréal, 1887. Reversed glass plate negative. © McCord Museum

A. H. Buxton, Wm Notman & Son, Montréal, 1887. Reversed glass plate negative. © McCord Museum