Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hannah Maynard, British Columbia Photographer, 1862-1912, Cabinet of Curiosities

Yearly Gems

The Yearly Gems of British Columbia are now ready at Mrs. R. Maynard’s. Ladies who have had their
little ones Photographs taken at her Studio during 1887, that have not already received one of the Gems, can do so by calling at the Photographic Studio, Douglas Street.

Victoria Daily Colonist,
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Tuesday, 31 January, 1888

Prominent in British Columbia, Canada’s ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ would be the photographs of Hannah Maynard and her husband, Richard Maynard. Born in England in 1834, Hannah Maynard, née Hatherly, first emigrated to Ontario, Canada with Richard, later they migrated to Victoria, British Columbia in 1862. Both were photographers, although Richard had other businesses. Hannah is thought to have been largely responsible for the Maynard Studios and for the portrait part of the business. She retired in 1912 and died in 1918 in Victoria. The British Columbia Archives holds a collection of Maynard negatives and the studio register donated by son Albert.

Her yearly Gem childrens’ photographic collages or montages were, in effect, ‘good advertising’, but Hannah Maynard experimented with many photographic techniques and effects – sometimes with almost bizarre or, as some will have it, surreal, results.

The links below will lead to examples of Gem photographs but also to some of her more artistic photographs - using multiple exposures and multiple images, lighting and retouching, mimicking movement, and showing images of her subjects as sculptures or as decoration on vases, pillows and plates included in a photograph, for example.

Maynard’s Photographic Gallery, Leslie Roberson. See the Gallery slide shows for a few of the ‘Gems’ and the ‘Artistic’ photographs as well as a selection of portraits, etc.:

The Maynard Archives, with a wonderful example of a ‘Gem’:

Hannah Maynard, Women in British Columbia History. Examples of her work and a portrait photograph of Hannah:

The Magic Box: The Eccentric Genius of Hannah Maynard by Claire Weissman Wilks (Toronto: Exile Editions Ltd., 1980) Google Book Search preview:

For more about Hannah Maynard, see also

Canadian Women Artists: Artist Database, Hannah Hatherly Maynard, Canadian Women Artists History Initiative, includes bibliography and references:

Camera Workers: The British Columbia, Alaska & Yukon Photographic Directory, 1858-1950, David Mattison:

“Studio Indians: Cartes de Visite of Native People in British Columbia, 1862-1872” by Margaret B. Blackman, Archivaria 21, pp. 68-86 (.pdf file) :

‘The Multiple Selves of Hannah Maynard’, film directed and written by Elizabeth Lazebnik, (Toronto, Ontario: Lumanity Productions, 2005)

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