As we make our way through Vancouver’s 125th anniversary year, many have been looking back to see how our city has grown. Thanks to the efforts of Vancouver’s first Archivist, Major Matthews, and photographers who took to documenting the ‘early years’ we can view glimpses of what Vancouver was like in its formative years. One of such photographers is Leonard Frank.
Yesterday was the anniversary of Frank’s passing, as I learned from Chuck Davis’ VancouverHistory.ca: “Leonard Frank, the photographer, died February 23, 1944, aged about 74. He came here from Germany in 1892, age 22, looking for gold, but that didnâ€™t work out. Then he won a lottery in which first prize was a camera. Frank’s father was a professional photographer, and taught the craft to young Leonard. So he began to take pictures. For 50 years he took pictures. His nearly 50,000 images captured a now-vanished British Columbia with astonishing clarity and beauty. I swear you can see the stubble on the lumberjacksâ€™ cheeks. Enjoy this extraordinary body of work in Cyril Leonoffâ€™s multi-award-winning 1990 book Leonard Frank: An Enterprising Life.”
The Vancouver Public Library has an impressive collection of Frank’s works which feature Vancouver, the logging and mining industries, and various communities on Vancouver Island such as Port Alberni and Qualicum.