Notman Samson

Wm. Notman & Son, Gent for Mrs. Austin, Montreal, 1889, McCord Museum, II-90238.
William Notman, Fort Chambly, near Montreal, 1863, McCord Museum, I-8139.


"Not to be put in:" Looking further into the Notman Collection

Friday, 18 November 2016, at 18:30
Concordia University, EV-1.615 (map)

Hélène Samson
Curator of the McCord Museum's Notman Photographic Archives

William Notman (1826-1891) was Canada’s first internationally known photographer. The success of his business and the remarkable longevity of his Montreal studio – in operation from 1856 to 1935 – set him apart from other Canadian photographers and rank him among the greatest of his era. The quality brand name of Wm. Notman & Son is associated with hundreds of thousands of fascinating portraits and landscapes that illustrate the birth of a new North American nation. Following the creation of the exhibition, Notman: A Visionary Photographer, at the McCord Museum, and the editing of a book complementing the retrospective, Hélène Samson has gone further to address conceptual issues about photography. She will share her understanding of portraiture through astonishing cases that have never been studied before in the Notman Collection. While looking at portraits through the concept of “narrative identity,” she attempts to bridge the gap between portraits and landscape.

Hélène Samson is Curator of the McCord Museum’s Notman Photographic Archives, a position she has held since 2006. She holds a PhD in art history from Université de Montréal. Her dissertation and numerous articles have focused on the history and theory of the photographic portrait, and more recently on collecting vernacular photographs. Aside from the annual summer exhibitions on McGill College Avenue, she has more than 20 exhibitions to her credits featuring the works of both contemporary and nineteenth century photographers. She is the editor of a new book on William Notman, which accompanies her retrospective exhibition about the prominent Canadian photographer, Notman: A Visionary Photographer, being held at the McCord Museum from November 4th 2016 to March 26th, 2017.


Of Related Interest:

McCord Museum’s Notman Photographic Archives

William Notman, the Photographer