MP-0000.1453.23 | The Prairies, looking west, MB, 1858
The Prairies, looking west, MB, 1858
Humphrey Lloyd Hime
1858, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
13 x 17 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Landscape (2230) , Photograph (77678)
Keys to History
Born in Ireland, H. L. Hime came to Canada in 1854 and joined the Assiniboine and Saskatchewan Exploring Expedition of 1858 as official photographer. His photographs are probably the first ever taken of the Canadian prairies. He has set up his camera, which used the complicated wet collodion process, on the west bank of Manitoba's Red River and pointed it west. The land is almost totally featureless, seemingly without human or animal inhabitants. It had, of course, a First Nations and Métis population, but Hime has concentrated on the land itself.
This is an early photograph of the Manitoba prairies, showing the native grassland as it was before the arrival of settlers from the east.
The photographer has set his camera up on the west bank of the Red River and pointed it towards the western horizon.
The picture was taken in 1858, but could have been taken any time in the previous thousand years. Within a generation, however, the scene will change a great deal.
Photographer H. L. Hime carried his bulky camera, which used the wet collodion process, to the Prairies to take these early pictures.