The Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada is delighted to announce the official launch of its new website, Photostories Canada. Created in collaboration with Library and Archives Canada with funding from the Virtual Museum of Canada, it offers a searchable resource of more than 800 photostories created between 1955 and 1971 by the National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division. Photostories are made up of a selection of four to twelve photographs arranged on half a page or a full-page, accompanied by descriptive captions and a title.
“These photostories function as valuable historical resources that tell vital stories about Canada from the post-war era to the early seventies, an important period of development and growth for the country,” says Andrea Kunard, Associate Curator at the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada and Founder of Photostories Canada. “The stories often present an idealized image of Canada, which we encourage users to engage with critically. Thinking about the way we represented our country in the past gives us the opportunity to consider how we want it to be viewed in the future.”
From mining to medicine, religion to railroads, the photostories depicted charming scenes of small town life, promoted major events such as Expo ’67, and shared images of hopeful future Stanley Cup contenders. Themes included cultural, industrial, scientific and political highlights, offering Canadians from one part of the country an opportunity to learn more about people, places and events in another. For example, those living on the West Coast could find out about oyster fishermen living on Prince Edward Island, while farmers in southern Ontario could learn about the artistic production of Inuit artists in the Northwest Territories.
Using the photostories as inspiration, teachers, students, archivists, researchers, history buffs, journalists and the general public can also create their own photostory by using the website’s app. Choosing from a curated selection of engaging images, they can narrate their own imaginative stories. Teachers can discover ways to use Photostories Canada in their classroom by downloading a teacher’s guide and lesson plan from the website.
“One of the objectives of Photostories Canada is to make this archival material available to a variety of audiences,” explains Andrea Kunard. “Teachers can encourage students to engage with Canada’s history while gaining skills in critical thinking, the general public can connect with an extensive archive of photographs to study at their leisure, and academics can access a wealth of material for research, reference and inspiration.”
Photostories Canada features photostories in their original mat-release format - which made it easy for them to be shared and re-printed in magazines, newspapers, government documents and other publications - with approximately 500 written in English, of which 250 were then translated to French, as well as an additional 250 that were originally created in French and have been recently translated. Each share invaluable information, not only providing a record of the history of photojournalism in Canada, but also offering exceptional examples of documentary photography and shining a light on the many successful photographers working within the National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division. “This project showcases in striking ways the photographs of the NFB, in this case documentary images of high artistic and historic quality. These archives are a rich resource that must continue to be shared, and we thank our partners for having made them more accessible to Canadians. The entire population will benefit from a better understanding of our nation’s history,” said Claude Joli-Cœur Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada.
DISCOVER: photostories.ca | FOLLOW: #PhotostoriesCanada
About the Canadian Photography Institute
The Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada is a creative and innovative centre dedicated to sharing, collecting, and questioning photography in all its forms. It brings people and communities together at the museum, online, and around publications to see, appreciate, and study photography. The Canadian Photography Institute was established in 2015 and officially launched in October 2016. Its collections build upon the National Gallery’s Photographs Collection. The Institute benefits from the unprecedented support of CPI’s Founding Partner Scotiabank, the Archive of Modern Conflict and the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. For more information, visit: gallery.ca/cpi.
About Library and Archives Canada
As the custodian of Canada’s distant past and recent history, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is a key resource for all Canadians who wish to gain a better understanding of who they are, individually and collectively. LAC acquires, processes, preserves and provides access to our documentary heritage and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. For more information, visit: bac-lac.gc.ca.
About the Virtual Museum of Canada
The Virtual Museum of Canada, managed by the Canadian Museum of History with the financial support of the Government of Canada, is the largest digital source of stories and experiences shared by Canada’s museums and heritage organizations. The Virtual Exhibits investment program helps Canadian museums and heritage organizations develop dynamic medium- to large-scale online products exploring Canadian history, heritage and culture. For more information, visit: virtualmuseum.ca.
About the National Film Board of Canada
The NFB is Canada’s public producer of award-winning creative documentaries, auteur animation, interactive stories and participatory experiences. NFB producers are embedded in communities across the country, from St. John’s to Vancouver, working with talented creators on innovative and socially relevant projects. The NFB is a leader in gender equity in film and digital media production, and is working to strengthen Indigenous-led production, guided by the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. NFB productions have won over 7,000 awards, including 20 Canadian Screen Awards, 18 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 100 Genies. To access NFB works, visit NFB.ca or download its apps for mobile devices.
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada’s premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st centuries, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. In 2015, the National Gallery of Canada established the Canadian Photography Institute, a global multidisciplinary research center dedicated to the history, evolution and future of photography. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter @NatGalleryCan, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
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