Photographer captured 20th century Canada

·3 min read

Professional photographer Scott Rowed will be in Lethbridge this Sunday hosting a presentation on his late father, Harry Rowed, a renowned Canadian photographer whose photojournalism told the stories of people and industry in the early 1900s across Canada.

Scott Rowed will be at the Galt Museum and Archives from 2-3 p.m.

Harry’s work captured the history of Alberta’s early oilpatch in the late 1930s and took him across the Canadian Rockies all the way up to the Arctic in Tuktoyaktuk.

“It’ll cover the broad strokes of his career, the highlights of his work focusing on southern Alberta where he did work in the Crowsnest Pass with coal miners, the McIntyre Ranch, and the Hutterite colony at Chin Lake,” said Rowed.

Scott has rediscovered and learned more about his father’s legacy through thousands of negatives stored in boxes after his father’s retirement in the 1970s. The journey has connected Scott to new journeys in his father’s life and the legacy of those he photographed over the years.

“I’ve been in contact with the people that he photographed over the years, or their descendants. That’s been one of the main focuses of what I’ve been doing, the connections with people that he photographed,” said Rowed. “There was this girl, she was Cree, working with her father ice fishing around Great Slave Lake. She must have been about 10 at the time. I posted these pictures on the Yellowknife Facebook historical page and people were coming back and identifying everybody in these pictures. This girl’s daughter, she saw them and I asked about her mom and if she was still alive, and she replies saying she’s still alive and doing well. She remembered my father from that shoot.”

“When my dad died, he had all these boxes, tens-of-thousands of negatives. I was the caretaker of them, and I didn’t do anything with them for years, they just sat in boxes. Eventually I thought, I really should get exploring and see what was in there. I was blown away. I had absolutely no idea of the breadth of his career. I knew that he was away quite a bit, but I really didn’t understand all the things that he was doing while he was away on all the different assignments,” said Rowed.

Rowed hopes his presentation at the Galt will spark a similar interest in others to look at their own family history and rediscover new stories or connections.

“I hope it’ll bring back memories for people. Be able to have them connect with people that might be their ancestors or friends that they may have known at some point,” said Rowed. “Maybe even help unraveling some of my own mysteries. For example, I have these pictures from the coal mining from Crowsnest Pass, I have no idea who the people are. It would be fun if participants got to help in unraveling this mystery.”

Ryan Clarke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald