McCord Museum of Canadian History
The Photographic Studio of William Notman

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Videos

Discover many fascinating details about the life of William Notman and the history of his photographic studio by viewing 18 short movie clips. These clips are taken from the film Notman’s Canada: Photographer to the Queen, produced by PTV Productions Inc., in conjunction with the McCord Museum. The transcriptions are available online.

Download the PDF file Transcription (integral) [267 kB]

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Low Speed : A Strong, Personal Gaze

A Strong, Personal Gaze – Time: (2 min. 55 sec.)

A pioneer of photography, William Notman is able to sum people up in seconds.

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Low Speed : Notman Finds His Way

Notman Finds His Way – Time: (3 min. 10 sec.)

In 1856 William Notman crosses the Atlantic and arrives in the New World. He opens a photographic studio, one of the first in Montreal.

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Low Speed : A Gift Fit for a Prince: The Maple Box

A Gift Fit for a Prince: The Maple Box – Time: (3 min. 02 sec.)

At the inauguration of the Victoria Bridge, a lavish set of Canadian photographs is presented to the Prince of Wales.

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Low Speed : The Photographer's Art: Seeing Beyond the Model

The Photographer's Art: Seeing Beyond the Model – Time: (5 min. 52 sec.)

William Notman is like a director: he aims to make the sitter look good and to reveal her or his true character.

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Low Speed : A Successful Portrait, a Soul Revealed

A Successful Portrait, a Soul Revealed – Time: (2 min. 48 sec.)

When looking at a portrait by William Notman, you are sometimes able to guess the job or personality traits of the sitter.

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Low Speed : The Family Album, an Illustrated Family Tree

The Family Album, An Illustrated Family Tree – Time: (2 min. 26 sec.)

One way to learn about major events in the life of any family is to look at its album of photographs.

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Low Speed : The Dear Departed: Post-mortem Portraitse

The Dear Departed: Post-mortem Portraits – Time: (2 min. 42 sec.)

Post-mortem photographs of the 19th century meant something quite different from what they mean today; death was often so untimely, so present, back then.

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Low Speed : The Fathers of Confederation

The Fathers of Confederation – Time: (1 min. 46 sec.)

It is 1864, and the men who will become known as the Fathers of Confederation, visit the Notman studio.

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Low Speed : Like Magic: Composite Photos

Like Magic: Composite Photos – Time: (4 min. 04 sec.)

For the World's Fair, Notman plans a composite photograph in which individual images will be combined into a great panorama of a skating carnival.

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Low Speed : The Composite Photo, or the Art of Collage

The Composite Photo, or the Art of Collage – Time: (2 min. 38 sec.)

In a composite from 1887, the subjects look quite natural; the technique used to make the photograph is not noticeable.

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Low Speed : A Unique Photographic Narrative

A Unique Photographic Narrative – Time: (3 min. 09 sec.)

Benjamin Baltzly’s photographs are a remarkable record of his journey to British Columbia, before it was fully explored.

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Low Speed : Snow and Ice: The Canadian Winter

Snow and Ice: The Canadian Winter – Time: (4 min. 05 sec.)

In his studio, Notman creates scenes that represent Canada to the world.

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Low Speed : Artfully Arranged Scenes

Artfully Arranged Scenes – Time: (1 min. 17 sec.)

William Notman creates, with careful art direction, a series of images depicting caribou hunting, moose hunting and fur trapping.

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Low Speed : Selected Pictures

Selected Pictures – Time: (54 sec.)

“Winter represented a good moment in the cycle of the year.”

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Low Speed : Musical Sports

Musical Sports – Time: (1 min. 04 sec.)

“There is no game that can claim, boys, to yield such measure of profit and pleasure as Lacrosse, our own National Game.”

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Low Speed : Montreal 1885, City of Contrasts

Montreal 1885, City of Contrasts – Time: (4 min. 44 sec.)

In all, the William Notman studio takes three thousand images during Montreal’s plague year. Yet, looking at them, you'd never know this tragedy took place.

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Low Speed : Like Father, Like Son: William McFarlane Notman

Like Father, Like Son: William McFarlane Notman – Time: (6 min. 04 sec.)

After 1884, while working for the Canadian Pacific Railway, William McFarlane Notman travels the West, taking photographs of its splendours.

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Low Speed : An Impressive Legacy

An Impressive Legacy – Time: (4 min. 42 sec.)

William Notman's photographs of Canada reveal the history of the land: the biographies of its people, the biographies of its places.

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