PURCELL PHOTOGRAPHY :: A HISTORY
Photography in the Purcells
Photography has been a prime motivator for exploring the Purcells ever since Albert MacCarthy took the first climbing action photos with his folding Eastman Kodak camera in 1916. That year he recorded the pioneering ascent of Bugaboo Spire with his wife, Bess, and mountain guide Conrad Kain.
Kain also led his good friend Byron Harmon, whose name is synonymous with pioneering photography in the Canadian Rockies, on a photographic expedition to the Lake of the Hanging Glacier in 1924. Their pack horses carried a couple of large format (5"x7") glass plate view cameras, a 35mm movie camera, and 17 sticks of dynamite to add a bit of drama to the glacial scene. (See Kain's biography, Where the Clouds Can Go, for a graphic description of how that photo session turned out.)
In the late 1960s, Art Twomey and friends built a small log home in the Purcells near where St. Mary's Alpine Park was later established. He meticulously documented the southern part of the range with 4"x5" format camera, 35mm stills and 16mm movies. Collaborating with Anne Edwards and Pat Morrow, Twomey produced the first natural history and hiking guide to the region, Exploring the Purcell Wilderness. This book, and slide shows made up of photos that poured in from both sides of the Purcells from impassioned hikers, climbers, hunting outfitters, fishermen and all round nature lovers, was instrumental in convincing the BC government to create the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy.
Photos and video clips submitted to the Look Outside initiative and photo contest will celebrate the contemporary Purcell region—and also inspire the on-going need to protect and conserve the wild.