The White Studio fonds. — 1937-1938. — 12 photographs.
The White Studio was operated by portrait photographer (John) Cameron White. Mr. White, from Toronto, was attracted to the Grande Prairie area by the local Board of Trade. He arrived in Grande Prairie with his wife Evelyn in May 1935 and rented studio space in the Casson Block as well as a home north of Mayor Tooley’s office. According to newspaper reports, The White Studio was “prepared to do everything in the photographic line, including finishing of amateurs’ films.” An advertisement in the August 5, 1935 Northern Tribune reads, “Old Timers, come in and see the pictures taken at the Picnic, July 31, and place your order. They will be a remembrance of the good time you had. Stampede Pictures are now available. Be sure to see the set we have. The White Studio, Grande Prairie, Alberta. Portraiture, Developing and Printing for the amateur.”
In December 1936, The White Studio purchased new equipment, including “deep tanks to handle roll films in larger quantity and in shorter time” and moved to a larger studio occupying the entire top floor of the Fletcher Block. He also brought in a “large business-like movie camera” which the reporter speculated would serve as “the eyes of the north” or “to record some major screen spectables with characters, extras and scenery from this Peace River country.”
In spite of all of his efforts, The White Studio was not an outstanding success, and Cameron White left Grande Prairie in 1937. He found that “when times were tough, the photographer got paid last”. After he left Grande Prairie, Mr. White changed his name to Ross Haynes according to the tenets of Numerology ‘to improve his luck’. In the early 1970s, Ross Haynes offered a collection of 102 glass negatives to the Old Timers Association through Gerald Carveth. They were also offered to local historian Isabel Campbell and to the City of Grande Prairie. At the time, photofinishing from the slides was expensive and not many were reproduced. The glass negatives remained with Isabel Campbell and were archived, after her death, with the Campbell family fonds because the connecting information to Ross Haynes, aka Cameron White, had been lost.
The photographs were donated by Jame White, cousin of photographer Cameron White, in 2013.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of 12 b & w postcards of scenes from the Grande Prairie area in 1937-1938 taken by Cameron White, photographer for The White Studio. There is also a McDermid Photo Service envelope from Calgary, in which the postcards were housed, dated April 12, 1938.
Related Records: 102 glass negatives in the Campbell family fonds, discovered to be created by The White Studio.