A boy and girl playing with a chained bear in their front yard in Kitsilano, a horse-drawn taxi rolling down Cordova Street, the Hotel Vancouver on the corner of Granville and Georgia. These are all images that I have featured during my weekly history photo series and which have been sourced from the City of Vancouver Archives or the Vancouver Public Library‘s collection. Thanks to the early photographers of Vancouver, we have these snapshots of our city’s last 125 years, and beyond. This week I’d like to feature the work of Philip Timms.
“Mr. Timms is a real Vancouver pioneer; handpicked, extra special, double refined and forty over proof.” Mayor J.S. Matthews, City of Vancouver Archivist, perhaps best described Philip Timms.
Timms’ considered his greatest professional accomplishment to be the photographic record that he created of Vancouver between 1900 and 1910. However, the images that he took during his travels throughout the province of British Columbia during subsequent years are also a tremendous cultural legacy.
Philip Timms was a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society; he was also the official photographer for the Vancouver Museum. Of his work, James B. Stanton, Curator of History at the Museum in the early 1970s wrote: “All of Timms’ photographs have a certain recognizable quality about them; much of the kindness and gentleness of the man himself comes through. His shots are candid and uncluttered and capture dramatically the feeling and mood of the time.”
When he closed his shop on Commercial Drive in 1968 at the age of 94, after 79 years as a printer and 70 years as a photographer, Philip Timms urged other photographers to continue similar documentation of British Columbia’s history.
Biography source: Vancouver Public Library
Related post: Vancouver History: Photographer: Leonard Frank.