The career of an amateur photographer is always powered by enthusiasm and passion, and the case of Harry Waddle is no exception of that. He was born in a small town of Port Dover in Ontario, Canada, and since he was a young boy he started pursuing his artistic dreams. As an only child, he spent a lot of time in his grandfather’s workshop and learned how to make wooden toys. Modest and humble by nature, he won his first Brownie Box camera and started taking pictures. Under the strong male family influence, he continued to capture images and by the time he was a teenager he already had a full scrapbook. There was a special desire to attend to every little detail and it was no surprise that his photographs secured him a place in the history of Canadian modernism and amateur photography.
He was a self-thought photographer, but the turning point in his career was reached when he took his father advice and learned how to make enlargements. Before the World War II, he gazed through the pages of magazines and visited exhibitions, and when the war ended he was ready to pursue his dream job as a photographer. Harry joined Canadian Air Force and some of his work show traces of this war memorabilia. Boating was his second great passion, but it seems that this artist has a lot more hidden underneath calm appearance and quiet appearance. He worked in his father’s workshop but continued to capture images of the scenes that constituted his everyday life. His field of inspiration was widely spread between sea and the sky, but the presence of a working man was often highlighted. He also took portraits of his family. As a working man, he financed his hobby himself and continued to perfect his technique.
He made prints from negatives and always took extra care to make additional enhancements. He added blue or brown lighting, blurred the edges, and even drew the details back in. On his most famous photograph, Lily Nectar, he had to draw a bee back into the photo, since by the time he snapped the picture the insect flew away. That sort of dedication was what made Waddle a great amateur artist. He was a president of Hamilton Camera Club and won the picture of the year award for his Lily Nectar print. For the same photo, he won a Five Star Exhibitor award by the Photographic Society of America. His success was international and he had the total of 129 prints in exhibitions. He received many awards, and he had continued to balance his work, hobby, and art. The money was a struggle, so he retired completely in 1980. After the retirement, he took an interest in another hobby and spent time learning about his family tree history.
Not much is known about this modest photographer, but looking at his life from the nowadays perspective, he was certainly a man who lived a rich and fulfilled life. Great love and patience towards photography were influenced by this general love of nature and life. He managed to capture everyday beauty of flowers and an everyday role of a working man after the war. His enthusiasm was well noticed around the globe, mostly in Europe, and his work found its way to Canadian photography. Black and white photographs depict the state of mind of this artist in a perfect color, they show us the sneak-peak into post-war success to enjoy the world’s everyday simple beauty.
The artist is represented by Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto, Canada.
All images photo credits © Harry Waddle Estate and Stephen Bulger gallery
|2015||Canadian Modernism||Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto||Group|