These amazing images show life in the frozen Canadian wilderness as depicted by the country's first professional female photographer.

 Both photographers are featured in the new exhibit, which is presented in conjunction with the Exposure Photography Festival. Eventually, the Moodies seemed to take cues from each other. Douglas got better at composition and even tried his hand at portraits. Geraldine eventually equipped herself with a hand-held camera and left the studio to explore the barren landscapes.

All are reproductions from a collection of vintage negatives that was gifted to Glenbow from the Perceval family, descendants of the Moodies who had them stored at a ranch south of Calgary.

The Moodies both lived into their nineties. Geraldine died in 1945 and Douglas in 1947. They spent at least part of their retirement in Calgary.

Douglas Cass, the director of Glenbow’s library and archives, was tipped off to the existence of the collection by author Donny White, who had written the 1998 book In Search of Geraldine Moodie.

“The great-grandchildren of Douglas and Geraldine said, ‘Sure, we’ll donate them,'” says Kooyman. “So Doug goes down south of the city in the old Glenbow van thinking he’s picking up half a dozen glass plates and comes back with 500 negatives, three photo albums, diaries, letters … It was this treasure trove.”

Most of the reproductions are accompanied by excerpts from the Moodies’ journals, providing rare details and depth to the images. Kooyman says she hopes the exhibit will eventually travel to other cities.

“It is almost unheard of to have a collection of historic photographs for which we have first-hand accounts from the photographers of the content and what they thought they were doing,” Kooyman says. “Almost all of these labels will have direct quotes from the photographers about what was happening, how they took the photo, things about the people in it. You never get that. But you have to admit, even if you did take all the stories away, the pictures are still pretty stunning.”

Responses to "Rare Century-old images of the Inuit people by the country's first female photographer"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Look at the garments these people are wearing. Think of the sophistication and skills needed to create these garments in such a remote place. These are sophisticated people.

  2. These photos makes me smile!! They are heart-warming. I'd love to see more!

  3. Incredible works of an incredible people.

  4. Unknown says:

    simply beautiful, the people, the clothing, the photographs thank you for sharing...

  5. Karen Stein says:

    I feel privileged to view 'the old world' of these First Nations peoples. These are such human photographs; a look into they eyes and the soul of the subject unlike some of that era where people were rigidly 'posed'. This is all to the photographers credit. I too would love to see the entire exhibit.

  6. How can I share this ...or you can to Arctic Culture Forum fb

  7. turtle68 says:

    I could spend hours looking at these photos

  8. strayaway says:

    sophisticated survivors for sure.....very humbling to see something of the reality of their skilful existence in such harsh conditions

  9. Wondrous! Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. cjollie says:

    I would live to study this collection.

  11. Unknown says:

    Thank you for these wonderful photos. The pride and the artistry is amazing and heart warming. How could anyone seeing these photos not be moved. Sharing these photos was priceless.

  12. Unknown says:


  13. Unknown says:

    Incredible and amazing pictures. Thank you so much for sahring

  14. Beautiful and heart-warming to see!

  15. Unknown says:

    Wonderful photos! They look like happy, healthy, hardworking people. It was a pleasure to view them. Beautiful beadwork. Would love to see more of these pictures.

  16. Unknown says:


  17. heartbreaking what is lost that should have continued forever

  18. Fabulous photos of these very intelligent people. Their clothing is not only practical but beautiful and the workmanship is extraordinary. Thank God these photos exist.

  19. ANONYMOUS says:

    Fantastic - other worldly - show me more

  20. Nell says:

    Stunning photographs, such a privilege to be able to witness these recordings of older times. The clothes are fascinating, such intricacy,as functionality. I hope this exhibition will travel the world. Such a legacy has to be shared.

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