At the turn of the 20th century, when most cameras and photographers operated out of a studio, Ontario-based photographer Reuben R. Sallows (1855-1937) took his heavy, cumbersome equipment outside. He photographed people at work and play in the small towns, farmlands and in the expansive Canadian wilderness of Ontario, the western rovinces and northern Quebec.
A rogue photographer, Sallows did not wait for clients to enter his studio. He took his camera everywhere: in his black Ford Model A truck, in a hired canoe and on the newly installed trains that crisscrossed Canada between 1881 and 1937.
He sold his photographs to his studio patrons in Goderich, Ontario, the Canadian, Albertan and Ontario governments, postcard and lithograph companies in the United States, Britain, Scotland and Germany as well as magazines and newspapers in Canada, the United States and abroad. One of his photographs, Patriarch of the Flock, was published in the National Geographic magazine in 1920.
His versatility at both setting a scene and capturing a moment made him an excellent freelance photographer in an age when such a concept was barely emerging. To be a photographer between 1881 and 1937 was to be a scientist, savvy businessman and artist. Reuben R. Sallows was all three.
In 1937, Reuben Sallows, on his way to take a photograph at a school camp on the lakeshore highway, was killed when his car overturned just south of Kintail. He was 82 years old.
During his sixty year career, his artistic skill was proudly heralded locally as “Sallowsgraphs” and recognized internationally, securing him a reputation for being a “photographic genius.”
These photos that Sallows captured everyday life of Ontario, Canada from between the 1860s and 1890s.
A boy holding a stick contemplates hitting backside of a large man
Bathing in Lake Huron
Becklers Mills Falls, Benmiller
Bend in Maitland River
Coming around curve in grove, Goderich
Dungannon School (destroyed by fire 1872)
Four men and bicycles after crash on path
Goderich Harbor, looking east from park
Group outdoor portrait
In the park
Interior of grocery store
John Morris Birthday Party
Looking W.S.W. from Court House
Man reading by fire
Monarch, Goderich Harbour
On the banks of the Maitland
On the bluffs
Outdoor family portrait
Platts Mill on the river flats
Port Albert Harbour
Portrait of family
River mouth about 1860
Ships in Goderich harbour
Students and teachers in front of frame building, Colborne
The Point Farms, summer resort near Goderich, Ontario