150 Years Canada

This year is a milestone in Canada’s history. Celebrating 150 years of Confederation, Canadians are looking to the past as they ponder the future. While we imagine what’s to come, we’re also conjuring up collective memories, often through photographs of remarkable people and events in our history. When the first photographic process, the daguerreotype, was introduced worldwide in 1839, it became known as “the mirror with a memory” — and until the invention of digital cameras and modern editing techniques in the late 20th century, photos were widely considered to be objective visual records. In fact, these “mirrors” we look into were created by photographers who isolated their subjects and presented them to us in an effort to communicate what they believed to be true. Viewers then analyzed — as they do today — the resultant photos, filtered through their own histories and biases. The meaning of any photograph exists somewhere between the subject, the photographer, and the viewer. Thinking about Canada’s sesquicentennial, a number of images came to mind, and we are grateful to the photographers who made them for providing us with these windows onto our past.