Photography and the landscape of travel: western Canada, 1884-1914

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The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway ushered in a new era for western Canada--one of settlement, resource exploitation and tourism. It also initiated important developments in Canadian photography, and the new art quickly formed important and lasting relationships with tourism and the western landscape. This study is concerned with these early relationships. Tourism was instrumental to the advancement of western landscape photography. In response to the demand for photographic views, photographers explored new landscapes and developed new technologies. Landscape photography quickly became a fine art and a valuable documentary tool. The role of photography in the promotion of tourism was both a conscious objective of the CPR and a consequence of activity by freelance photographers. Images of the western landscape illustrated publications and lectures, and were widely collected and displayed. Photographic images moved the Canadian landscape into the public consciousness and made visual literacy commonplace. Photography's adaptation to the Canadian West was swift and confident, inspired by traditional landscape values, modern technological advances, tourist interests, CPR corporate goals and the landscape itself. Western landscape photographs from the early railway period are a reflection of tourist, corporate and artist perceptions and interests. Tourism and landscape photography developed interdependently in western Canada. Tourist and corporate demands influenced the images created; the images guided and stimulated tourism. Both photography and tourism developed in response to, and were dependent upon, the western landscape. The impressive western geography inspired man to contemplate, to photograph and to value preserved landscape images.
Bibliography: p. 133-147.
Hadley, M. T. (1984). Photography and the landscape of travel: western Canada, 1884-1914 (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/16150