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Uncovering Nicholas Morant’s Early Photography

Updated: Jan 18, 2019

By Kate Skelton, Archival Assistant

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A young Morant with camera gear, ca. 1927, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (V500/III/A/E/PD-1/15/1)

Since September of this year, I have been filling the role of Archival Assistant at the Whyte Museum as part of a Young Canada Works program for recent graduates. Specifically, I have been working with part of a large donation made to the Whyte Museum in 2006 which includes books, personal letters, sound recordings and over 1,000 photographs which belonged to Nicholas Morant.

Nicholas Morant (1910-1999) was a well-known photographer for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, whose over five-decades-long career took him across the country in an effort to capture scenes, people and landscapes from every part of Canada. In January, I will begin working on a new digital exhibit, featuring some of Nicholas Morant’s original photography and further detailing his incredible life story.

Older Nicholas Morant with snowshoes and camera gear [ca. 1975 – ca. 1980], Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (V500/I/C1/78/PA-39)

Recently, I was lucky enough to come across an early album of Nicholas Morant’s from 1925-1926, when he was a young teenager. The album features landscapes and natural scenes from areas close to Morant’s hometown of Kamloops, B.C., as well as pictures he took of himself and his friends during a 1925 camping trip. The photographs in this album serve as great examples of Morant’s early experimentation with different camera angles and perspectives, tricks which would later help to define his career. These photos share a glimpse of what life was like growing up in rural Canada nearly 100 years ago.

A digital copy of the full album, courtesy of the Whyte Museum Archives, can be accessed below. Click the image to view the album.

Nicholas Morant photo album, 1925 – 1926, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Nicholas Morant fonds (V500/III/A/E/PD-4)

Other content from Nicholas Morant’s collection can be accessed in person in the Archives and Library at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, or by searching the Archives and Library records through the website.

The upcoming Nicholas Morant digital exhibit will be made available through the Whyte Museum website in March 2019 – stay tuned!

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