Dunstan's Studio of Photography fonds
– Rod Lemay sousfonds. 1907-1923
– Maud Lane sousfonds. 1923-1938
We are very pleased to be able to make available the images of Rod LeMay and Maud Lane. The financial support of the UBC’s Irving Barber BC History Digitization Program has allowed us to share these images that document the early years of our community.
Links to biographies of both Rod LeMay and Maud Lane follow
Rod LeMay Bio (learn more)
Maud Lane Bio (learn more)
Rod LeMay ( 1875-1949 )
Rod LeMay was a master photographer.
He was born in St. Louis de Lotbinière, Quebec, January 11, 1875 and when he was 16 he was an “Artiste Apprentice” in Montreal.
A story of heartbreak seems to have led him to the then remote area of Powell River. He lived in the Sliammon First Nations territory and appears to have worked in a logging camp. The first image we have by LeMay is that of the Michigan Puget Sound logging train in 1907.
In 1909 rumblings were heard that a pulp and paper mill was to start along Powell River and in 1910 construction of the mill and the town that grew up around it started. It is assumed that the Powell River Company allowed LeMay to document both the industry’s growth and that of the newly burgeoning Townsite.
LeMay did amazing work, all the more remarkable because of the cumbersome materials that were required for his images. His work faithfully reflects the growth of the Powell River community and its citizens, including a tragedy that befell Sliammon First Nations in 1918 when it lost a major village to a devastating forest fire.
The LeMay images inspire awe in both visitors and researchers alike.
The images are pristine, elegant in their depiction of people in their work and at play. He used a Romera view camera with a 6.5 lens. His ingenuity made it a magical instrument. He rigged up a process to use flash and to capture wide angle shots. He not only created technical innovations, his artistic eye produced lasting images that rank among the finest from early photographers.
The quality of his black-and-white original prints remained intense for decades due to a secret that he used in the dark room. The glass negatives he left behind produce images as sharp and detailed as the day he made them.
The combination of his innovative technical expertise and his artistry have created a priceless legacy documenting the beginnings of the community.
We do not know why LeMay stopped taking photographs but in 1922 he sold his studio to Maud Lane.
He remained in Powell River until 1947 and died in Vancouver in 1949.
Maud Lane ( 1883 – 1938 )
Note: Our thanks to Dr. Gordon Goldsborough of the Manitoba Historical Society for information relating to Maud (Abbott) Lane.
Maud Lane (nee Abbott ) was born in Ontario and spent her childhood in Emerson, Manitoba. Her father, James John Abbott ( 1839-1914 ) was a photographer. They moved to Taber, Alberta and the family started a photography business there.
Coming to B.C. she and her father lived in Vancouver and in 1910, she married Reginald Lane ( 1879 – 1915 ). They moved to Powell River when he secured a position as postmaster in May 1913. He resigned this position in January 1914 and went to work in the pulp and paper mill.
They had one child, Lorna. B.
Maud purchased Rod LeMay’s photographic studio in 1923 and continued the work of documenting the growth of the pulp and paper mill and the town that grew up around it.
Lane recorded the unprecendented growth of the Powell River Company’s development of the dam at Lois Lake. She developed a distinct three and four numeric numbering system and she often used a ‘date board’ that has been invaluable for historic purposes.
Lane’s brother, Roy Abbott ( 1884-1944 ) appears to have assisted her in her studio.
She sold her photographic studio to Oswell Stevenson ( 1890 – 1955 ) very shortly before her death in 1938.