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Description found in Archives

Documentary and photojournalism [graphic material]. 

Series consists of



Place of creation


ca. 41809 photographs : b&w and col.

Scope and content

Series consists of negatives and prints covering the range of Walter Curtin's commercial documentary practice in Canada that began while working as a still photographer for the National Film Board of Canada in 1953. He was first hired by the National Film Board to document the activities surrounding the opening of the Stratford Theatre Festival. Drawing inspiration from the "candid" black and white tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Curtin broke away from the NFB's preferred 4x5 format, convinced by the advantages of the 35mm camera for recording live scenes. For the next thirty years he continued to photograph "real people" who fascinated him for various magazines. In 1953, Walter Curtin successfuly introduced a Canadian focus to Liberty Magazine, producing colour cover photographs and black and white photographically illustrated feature stories included in this series. Features documented prominent figures including Shirley Harvey, Gisele Mackenzie, Robertson Davies, Nicolas Monserrat, Shirley Thomas, Marlene Stewart, Lorne Green and Katherine Cornell. Walter Curtin ended his working relationship with Liberty Magazine in 1954, continuing to develop his skills as a photojournalist and worked for a variety of Canadian and American magazines including Maclean's, Time, Business Week, Canadian Home Journal, Weekend Magazine, Star Weekly, Saturday Night Magazine, and Fortune Magazine. His subjects ranged from familiar cultural icons and high profile political business figures to a variety of different people and places across Canada. During a brief return to London, England in the 1960's, Walter Curtin continued to work as a photojournalist for various international clients. Soon after his return to Canada, Walter Curtin continued to work both as a commercial advertising photographer and as a photojournalist. In the early 1970's Curtin embarked upon a project to extensively document the classical music scene in Canada. In conjunction with this project he also extensively photographed the visual and literary arts communities across Canada.

Graphic (photo)
90: Open
Archival reference no.

Terms of use

No restrictions on use.
Copyright: National Archives of Canada.

Advertising and photojournalism finding aid is organized chronologically by series, date, assignment, source, and corresponding film roll numbers. FA-397 (Paper)

Additional information

Associated material note
Awards and certificates of merit for excellence in commercial and documentary photography are in the 1981-262 accession file.

Subject heading