My first contact with a Professional Photographer
was as a Relief Manager of A.F. Wilbee grocery
store on 41st & West Blvd. in Vancouver when I was
16 in 1932. This grocery store was next door to R.J.
Hughes Photo Studio. RJ. Hughes, the photographer, was the founding President of Professional
Photographers Association of British Columbia
(P.P.A.B.C.). Having the occasion to go out the back
door of my store, I was in sight of a whole row of
photographic frames being exposed to the day light.
I later found out that they were P.O.P. (Printing Out
Papers) proofs. Mr. Hughes was making his proofs
by sunlight. This excited my interest in
A year or two later I met up with Helmeth Geortz, a
photographer for Alf Blight in Edmonton. Helmeth
and I boarded at the same rooming house and we
formed a real friendship.
While in Edmonton I tried to sell Beaty washing
machines and vacuum cleaners with little success.
While at this rooming house a group of music sales
people arrived and I was invited to join them to go
to Vancouver to sell music courses. I left Edmonton
and was off to Vancouver with the group of sales
people. I did not know anything about Music, but
was given training in selling these courses. Dr.
Berisford who was a super salesman guided the crew.
He used photographs of his large groups of new
students to promote sales.
The next encounter with another professional
photographer was meeting Fred Sunday, who
specialized in large group photography. Mr. Sunday
was photographing several hundred new music
students on the stage of the Orpheum Theatre,
parents and grand parents were in the audience
watching. Mr. Sunday was using an 8 × 20 camera,
lighting the group with flash powder.
I was 19 and had made up my mind that I was going
to be a photographer and seized the first
opportunity to approach Mr. Sunday for a job as his
assistant. We photographed a banquet in the Vancouver Hotel, rushed back to his Lab and developed and printed a proof photograph and returned to the hotel to make our sales. What an experience for a novice.