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William Notman

(1826—1891)


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(1826–91), Scottish-born Canadian photographer who emigrated to Montreal in 1856 after a financial scandal terminated his textile business. A keen amateur photographer, he founded a studio which soon excelled in hand-coloured portraits, composite group photographs, staged snowscapes and hunting scenes, and views. Notman also created celebrated construction photographs of the huge Victoria Bridge across the St Lawrence, completed in 1860. By 1874 the studio employed 55 people and was producing 14,000 photographs annually. It also dominated the lucrative college graduation business north and south of the US border and, via the Centennial Photographic Company, participated profitably in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadephia, pioneering a system of photo-identity passes in the process. In the 1870s and 1880s several employees, and Notman's eldest son, photographed the surveying and construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. New branches were founded, and by the time Notman died the family was or had been involved in c. 26 studios, nineteen of them in the USA.

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From The Oxford Companion to the Photograph in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Photography and Photographs.


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