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  • photo collection
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NANITCH: Early Photo Series of British Columbia from Langmann Collection Opens the Doors to History

March 10, 2016
Gordana Sretenović. Teaching English and writing for a living. Obsessed with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Desires to travel the world and not have a permanent address. Occasionally writes poetry.

NANITCH: Early Photographs of British Columbia from the Langmann Collection proffers the first glance into the Uno Langmann Family Collection of British Columbia Photographs. This photo collection is a salient archive of over 18,000, seldom seen photographs recently donated to UBC Library by Uno and Dianne Langmann and Uno Langmann Ltd. Covering a sixty-year period, from the 1860s to the early 1920s, this cutting edge photo collection reveals changes in the province, as well as the insight of how and why these photographs were made.

photo collection
Richard Maynard – Stereograph Card

Photo Collection that Transcends its Original Role

Into the history of photography is etched the need of humans to capture a moment, to show things as they are, to make history and to create a medium for visual communication among people, regardless of their social status or the age they live in. This is why this photo collection is so important to us, now, in the 21st century. If we are to prosper in the future, we must take a look back into the past. The lively display of photographs shows how the formal nineteenth-century photographers who used large-format cameras progressed with the development of amateur cameras. The extensive material displayed will include hand-colored albumen prints, stereo cards, cartes de visite, postcards and glass negatives. This collection is so much more than just a piece of evidence of the past times. It teaches us something we may not have known we want to know, it makes us think about the way life used to be, and, most importantly, it makes us appreciate the technology we have today and all the perks that go along with it.

photo collection
From Carlo Gentile album – Near Cariboo Wagon Road

NANITCH: The Photo Collection that Gives an Alternative View on History

NANITCH brings to notice new renditions of the early history of British Columbia. The word itself, NANITCH, means “to look” in Chinook jargon, which was, at that time, the lingua franca of the Pacific Northwest. The name of the exhibition indicates the noteworthy role of the camera in colonization. The exhibition emphasizes the gainsaying of settlement by offering photographs that contain motifs of family portraits, topography, political gatherings, commerce, native peoples and their dislocation. The exhibition promotes rare photo albums that span from the nineteenth-century government, exploration of the province, and, last but not least, the utopian district of Walhachin. Central photographers at that time include Frederick Dally, Charles McMunn, Hannah and Richard Maynard, Charles Horetzky, Ben Leeson and Edward Curtis.

photo collection
Frederick Dally – Colonial Hotel from “Views of British Columbia” album

NANITCH Photo Collection at Presentation House Gallery

Presentation House Gallery and the University of British Columbia Library have worked together to bring about this astounding photo collection. A pictorial publication will be put together as an extension of the exhibition. This exhibition and publication are a part of UBC Library’s Centennial program. The exhibition reception will be held on Saturday, April 16th, starting at 7 PM. The exhibition will be on view from March 30th to June 26th, 2016 at Presentation House Gallery which is open to the public Wednesday to Sunday, from 12 PM to 5 PM. Admission is by donation.

All images courtesy of University of British Columbia Library, Rare Books and Special Collection, Uno Langmann Family Collection of BC Photographs. Featured images: The Burial of John Smith, Spence’s Bridge, April 23, 1905 / Freshwater Photo – Cutting Wood, Bowen Island, postcard / Left: Charles McMunn – Salmon Cache, Fraser River, c. 1890; Right: From Ben W. Leeson album – Alice Lake Timber / Left: J.L. Brown Studio – Henry and Joseph La Plant, c. 1890, cabinet card; Right: from Unger Family collection