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Toronto, Ontario, 1899
Dollarton, British Columbia, 1957
Biography synopsis
Helen McCall (née Barnard), was born in Toronto but moved to Howe Sound, British Columbia with her adoptive aunt and uncle at an early age. In the late 1910s McCall apprenticed at a photography studio in Vancouver run by Robert F. L. Brown, before returning to Howe Sound near the end of the war. In 1920 she married Hector McCall, who was unable to work due to war injuries; subsequently, McCall began to photograph her neighbours in order to make an income for her family. Over the next thirty years she photographed many social occasions that were of interest to the people of Gibson, as well as to the many tourists. McCall also took portraits and spent her summers hiking Howe Sound in search of landscapes to photograph and turn into postcards. McCall developed and printed all of her own photographs as well as those of amateurs in the area, doing so without the use of electricity or running water. The Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives in Gibson's, British Columbia owns a vast collection of McCall's work.
Media used
Private study, ? - 1920 (under Robert F. L. Brown)
File & Archive locations
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
Sunshine Coast Museum & Archives, BC

Writings about
Cobb, Myrna and Lester R. Peterson. "The Postcard Photography of Helen McCall." Canadian Woman Studies / Les cahiers de la femme 2.3 (1980): 32-33
Cobb, Myrna and Sher Morgan. Eight Women Photographers of British Columbia, 1860-1978. Victoria, British Columbia: Camosun College, 1978
Gregg, Tara and Mike Steele. Helen McCall's Community Album: Helen McCall, 1899-1956 Gibson, British Columbia: Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives, 2003
Isler-de Jongh, Ariane, Lynne Marks, and Jocelyn Statia. "Introduction to the McCall Catalogue." The Helen McCall Photography Project 2003
Skidmore, Colleen. Rare Merit: Women in Photography in Canada, 1840-1940 Vancouver, B.C.: UBC Press, 2022
Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives. Helen McCall 1899-1956 Sunshine Coast Museum, 2011
Waddington, Margaret. Biographies of B.C. Postcard Photographers. Vancouver: Vancouver Postcard Club, 2006

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