Nicholas Morant's Later Career

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Following his return to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, Nicholas Morant was once again the face of Canadian tourism and travel photography. A large portion of his work focused on promoting trips across the trans-Canada railway, as well as cruise lines and hotels which were also owned and run by Canadian Pacific at the time. Morant's photographs were published in calendars, advertisements, magazines and newspapers - some of his images were even used on editions of the 50 cent Canadian stamp and the ten dollar bill!

50 cent stamp with Nicholas Morant's photograph, ca. 1940 - ca. 1945. Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (V500/I/B2/3/NS-6).

Morant's Curve

Winter view of a cargo train at Morant's Curve, ca. 1945 - ca. 1960. Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (V500/I/C1/105/PA-20). 

Although Nicholas Morant took tens of thousands of photographs depicting all manner of people and subjects, he became best known for capturing a very particular view. Throughout his career, Morant focused heavily on steam trains and the Canadian Pacific Railway as his subject matter - he was even known to have trains travel to a specific location and then stop on the railway tracks while he captured them at just the right angle. Morant's location of choice for the perfect train image was at a spot not far outside of Banff, heading towards Lake Louise. Now widely referred to as "Morant's Curve", this spot has become a planned excursion for many photographers visiting the Banff area who want to achieve that perfect train shot. 

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Wildlife in Photographs

Nick Morant also had a love of wildlife and nature, and he regularly photographed the animals he encountered during his travels and while at home in Banff. Black bears, beavers, moose, deer, birds and other wildlife can all be found within his photographic collections. Although the occasional animal made its way into his professional photographs, a large number of Morant's animal images were kept for the sake of his personal memories and were never published. 

Two bear cubs, ca. 1950 - ca. 1960. Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (V500/I/C1/4/PA-6).

"A Talk Without Words"

Later in their careers, Nick and Willie created their own travelling exhibitions which featured original photographs of various places across Canada, as well as pictures from their travels in Peru and Mexico. One of Nick and Willie's most famous presentations was "A Talk Without Words", a musical slideshow of their work which the couple presented to audiences for a span of 15 years in the 1950s and 1960s. "A Talk Without Words" was presented exactly as described- Nick and Willie would give an introduction explaining their work, and then the remainder of the show would consist only of their photographs and accompanying music.

To view an adapted version of the original slideshow, click here.

"A Talk Without Words" promotional poster, ca. 1950 - ca. 1965. Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (M300/II/C/6/71).

The adapted version provided in the link above was produced in 2011 as an homage (but not an identical copy) of the original presentation "A Talk Without Words", which was approximately one hour in length. Nick and Willie's original images are accompanied by Nick's RCA Victor 78 rpm recording of Gymnopédie no. 1 and no. 2 by Satie (1949), performed by Boston Symphony Orchestra with conductor Serge Koussevitzky. This music is also used in the 2011 version.

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