Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

How to make an inexpensive lightbox for photographing artefacts!

We are heading out to Spaniard's Bay tomorrow for our Heritage Craft Show-and-Tell (July 17th, 2019) and we've asked people to bring a hand-made craft object to show us. So, today, Rachael Green and I made a cheap lightbox so we'll have something to use to photograph people's treasures.

We bought an inexpensive transparent plastic tote, some white posterboard, two sided tape, parchment paper, and two cheap LED lamps. Total cost: about $32.  Terra Barrett found this DIY instructable here (we used a plastic tote instead of a cardboard box so it less likely to get banged up as we travel around).


And after:

Some sample "treasures" we photographed, using my iPhone, as a test:

Thoughts? Suggestions? Possible tweaks? Comment below, or email

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Harbour Grace Railway Memories

Canadian National Train in Harbour Grace. Photo from the Town's website.
On Sunday evening the Heritage Foundation along with the Town of Harbour Grace hosted the Railway Memories and Story Swap. Although we didn't come across any photos of the railway station that evening we did hear some great stories and were told there are a couple of photos in the local museum's collection. If you or anyone you know has photos of the Harbour Grace Railway station or the Conception Bay North railway more generally please get in touch at as we are still on the hunt for photographs!

We arranged a follow up interview with Pat Collins who had excellent stories about his time working on the railway.  He told us about a old railway station in Riverhead, Harbour Grace and suggested several people we get in touch with for more stories.

Pat also described his fear and embarrassment when he fell asleep during an overnight shift on the Main Line and awoke to the sound of a work train coming through. In his confusion he thought it was a passenger train which was not supposed to come through on the tracks at that time. He put the call over the radio to stop the train but was laughed off the radio instead. Pat was told to go back to sleep  and was informed it was a freight train coming through in the early morning and there was nothing to worry about!

~Terra Barrett

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Help Solve the Carbonear Soper Photo Mystery

I'm on my way to the Heritage Saskatchewan Forum 2015, but have a quick stop in Toronto which is just long enough to allow me to blog about this mystery photo which arrived in my inbox today.

The photo was sent by Michael Soper, of Scarborough, Maine, but who comes from three generations of Sopers in Carbonear. Michael writes,
"I am guessing that they must be Sopers as identical pictures were at two Soper houses - George Soper on Soper's farm (son of George E. Soper) and G. Hubert Soper (son of William Henry Soper)."
Any thoughts? Email me at, or leave a comment below.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday's Folklore Photo - Gosine's Grocery Store, Portugal Cove-St. Philip's

This week's folklore photo is of the former Gosine's Store, in Portugal Cove- St. Philip's. Katie Harvey, one of our youth speakers at our upcoming Youth Heritage Forum, collected the photo during her work as heritage researcher for the town.

Katie writes,

"This is a photograph of Gosine's Grocery Store which was located at 25 Hardings Hill in the 1950s. It was a two storey grocery store. The house that is in its location now is brand new, so unfortunately there is no trace of this store left."

The photo will be part of a collection of photographs and interviews from Portugal Cove- St. Philips, soon to be added to Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: Checking Out Icebergs

United States Coast Guard plane on patrol, flying over an iceberg, 1945.
This photograph was donated to the Maritime History Archive by John Cardoulis in 1997. It's an historic image that made me think about how technology drastically changes the ways in which we view and interpret the objects around us. Back in 1945, the intimate view of an iceberg from above was reserved for a pilot's eyes only, but now we send camera-laden drones through icy arches so that we can all get a closer look.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday's Folklore Photo - Somebody's Home

Photograph of a heritage structure submitted by Teri Delaney.
A few weeks back Teri Delaney stopped by our Springdale office to drop something off. She noticed a photograph on the wall of one of our designated heritage buildings. She said that she took a photo of that same building, and hadn't realized that it was a provincially recognized structure. I asked her to send along a copy to share on the blog. Her photograph "Somebody's Home," reminds us that many of the province's surviving historic buildings once served as year-round homes for families. This one, it seems, is still in use. Thanks for sharing your photograph, Teri.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Folklore Photo: The Cupids American Man circa 1930

Today's folklore photo comes courtesy of the Newfoundland Historical Society archival collection. The photo shows the "American Man" - a cairn of stones located at the top of Spectacle Head, in Cupids. The original photo was taken by A.C. Hunter, and the back of the photo has an inscription which reads:

Photo by A.C. Hunter, about 1930
The "American Man" on the hill between Cupids +
Clarke's Beach. Mrs Hunter in photo
There was another one between Brigus and Cupids.
They were used as landmarks for Vessels
coming in, we supposed. We also wondered if
they came from "Marking Man"???
                             Muriel H. Hunter, 1976
Negative of this is in the A.C. Hunter Collection, Memorial Univ.
                                                                                Audio Visual.

The cairn, which has been rebuilt several times since the 1930s, is much taller today, and a secondary, smaller cain has also been constructed nearby.  I've heard it referred to as both the "American Man" and the "Merican Man," and have also heard the theory, given by locals, that it is indeed a corruption of "Marking Man."

Here is how the structure looked during the Cupids 400 Celebrations in 2010. I believe the photo is by Dennis Minty:

At some point after the 2010 celebrations, the structure was damaged by vandals, and rebuilt by local volunteers. Here is what the cairn looked like on 13 October 2013. Note that it is slightly more symmetrical here, than in the 2010 photo.

This note is the first I've heard of a similar structure located between Brigus and Cupids. If anyone knows of that particular cairn's current or previous location, email me at

- Dale Jarvis


On 5 February 2013, Mike Sexton wrote me and noted the following:
"...years ago I met an Icelander in L'Anse Aux Meadows, he was on the hill looking for a third cairn at the viking site. He was an old mariner and he told me that there should be three if they were used for navigation. they always have the sky as a background,and you have to keep one in the middle for safe water. This one in the middle could be a considerable distance behind the ones closest to the coast. so you sail by, and when you have them positioned right you turn towards shore. (Safe water)"

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Vintage Newfoundland Christmas - post your old family holiday snaps!

Christmas is one of those times when people dig out their old photo scrapbooks and albums and remember the holidays of yesteryear. And we know there is some photographic gold hidden in those albums of yours - photos like the one above, of our own Nicole Penney, apparently quite happy and content in the clutches of this mummer (an early sign of a folklorist-to-be, obviously).

We want to see yours! So we've started up a Facebook group where you can share your family holiday photos, called Vintage Newfoundland Christmas. Post and comment there to your heart's content!

Don't have Facebook, but want to share? Or do you have old photos, but need some help scanning them? Don't be shy! You can email us at and we'll be happy to help.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: Hammock Days

As we settle into the fall season, I'd like to share a nostalgic summer photograph from the Bay Roberts area. This image was shown to me by 84 year old Wilbur Sparkes during a recent oral history interview. During our talk, Mr. Sparkes reminisced about how his mother used to string up a hammock between two large trees to help take advantage of the summer weather. His grandmother is shown relaxing in a rocking chair next to her. This was just one of many wonderful memories he shared about growing up in the community he still calls home.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

ICH office accepts The Scope's 2013 #PhotoChallengeNL

Recently, St. John's arts and culture newspaper The Scope challenged readers to participate in a photo project, taking a different photo or video every day for the month of August.  You can read more about the challenge here:

The Intangible Cultural Heritage office is onboard! And because we love a good folklore photo, we'll take the challenge to the next level: all our photos will follow the daily suggestions, AND be on a folklore/intangible cultural heritage theme. 

We'll be posting our folklore-themed photos on Instagram, with The Scope's suggested hashtag  #photochallengenl and our own #ich_nl (that's our Twitter handle, btw). 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

More on abandoned mines, including one at Blow Me Down Bluff

On Friday, I posted about a trip to an abandoned 19th century copper mine in Avondale. I concluded that post by asking if anyone had information about that mine or other abandoned mines in the area.

Several people responded, including Mr Craig Moore, who had done some research on the Avondale mineshaft in the mid 1990s. At that point, Moore had been told by the property owner, Greg Deveraux, that the shaft was the remains of an exploration site for a copper mine, dating to 1899. He corroborated that local knowledge holds that the offshore sand bar was the remains of the excavation, and concluded his note with a bit of a mystery. Apparently, a ship left the area in 1899 headed to Wales with a load of ore samples from the exploration site, but the ship never reached its destination.

Other people responded with information about different abandoned mines. Some told me about abandoned mines in Tilt Cove, Marysvale and Brigus. Susan Furneaux wrote,

"When I lived in Colliers I was told about an abondoned mine that was there...which kind of makes sense considering the name. Not sure if it exists. It was supposed to be on the Northside of the harbour a ways out. There was an old path that went along the shore, beyond where the old settlement was. I have wondered about it often over the years."

In addition to these emails, Linda Lewis sent me the above photo, with this note:

"At Blow Me Down Bluff between Holyrood Bay & Chapel’s Cove is an abandoned mine. The attached pic of of Ed Fahey back in the 50s who was trying to attract attention to the mine at that time. It was mined back in the 1800s and is mentioned in the will of Msgr. Wm Veitch of Holyrood"

You can read Mr Veitch's will online here.

If you have heard a story about any of these mines, email me at I'd be particularly interested in knowing the exact location of the Marysvale/Colliers/Brigus mines, if you've seen them in your own explorations, or in other old photos of mining activity in Newfoundland and Labrador.

- Dale

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Reunited Photographs: Tennis on the Avenue

It is a well-known fact that there was once a tennis court behind the Bay Roberts cable station. This court was built and maintained by the Western Union in order to provide some leisure and entertainment to their staff. Below are two photographs of people waiting to play tennis, and each came to us from different sources. When we put them together, it was a surprise for us to see that they were almost identical, but not quite --  you can see that one was taken just after the other. It's likely that they had the same photographer, believed to be Mr. Robert Mercer, former cable employee and avenue resident. We wonder how the two photographs got separated but are happy to reunite them. Can you spot the differences? And which do you think was taken first?

Photograph provided by V. Williams (London, Ontario), whose husband Brian was raised on Cable Avenue.

Photograph provided by the Bay Roberts Historical Society Inc., part of their larger cable-related collection.

If you know anything about these photographs, like the names of people in the tennis line, or if there are any more images in the series, I'd love to hear from you:


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: A Wedding in Muddy Hole

The wedding of Hettie and Jimmy Robert Simms, in Muddy Hole, Newfoundland, probably during the early 1950s. The couple left Muddy Hole some years before the community was resettled in 1965, and moved to Pushthrough. Photograph courtesy of HFNL board member Doug Wells, of Harbour Breton.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo

I know that it's spring now and snowy landscapes are not exactly what we want to be looking at, but I thought it would be nice to say goodbye to winter by looking at this fantastic photograph of unbridled winter fun. This photo was taken by Ted Rowe in Heart's Content during the early 1960s and shows boys playing hockey on harbour ice. Nowadays the harbour doesn't freeze over like this, and groups of children no longer gather together to play hockey outdoors. This photo is a nostalgic peek into days gone by--a special thanks to Ted Rowe for sharing it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo

Despite its fairly small size, Bell Island has at least 12 different cemeteries. Some of these are considered new, while others are historic, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The cemetery pictured here is by far the smallest--it has a single headstone, carefully fenced off, on the side of a hill. It can be seen from the road when you are  driving onto the island from the ferry. One can't help but speculate as to why it is up there all alone. This single grave site surely has a story. Who is buried here? Why is this grave in this location? While I've heard a few stories about the person buried here, I'd be interested to hear your version. So, if you know anything about this little hillside graveyard, please email: I look forward to hearing from you, and I'll be sure to write another post sharing people's answers to this query.


This information was provided by Ed Kirby who has roots on Bell Island. This is an interesting account, and it also points towards a mystery around the actual burial site connected to this headstone (pictured above).

"It’s that of Greg Normore, who supposedly was the first permanent resident of Bell Island, settling there around 1740. The headstone was moved to its current location in the late 1950s or early 1960s. I think it had previously been somewhere else on the hill, possibly in the old Anglican graveyard on the east hand side of the Beach Hill Road, or near the tram track to the west of the road. The tram, which was located between the road and the cemetery, moved people up and down the steep hill to the Beach ferry before Beach Hill Road was built. My mother’s family – both sides of it – were from Bell Island, and there was some skepticism that the site from where the headstone was moved was actually his burial site. The adults in the family said Normore’s actual burial site was unknown, and that the headstone was erected in an arbitrary spot overlooking the bay. The current site of the headstone is near the Catholic cemetery where the ground is about half rock and half clay, fit only for grazing and burying."

Friday, February 15, 2013

Floating George and Annie Warren's House, Placentia Bay

Lisa Wilson and I are just back from a trip to Arnold's Cove, to meet with their local heritage committee on a web project they are undertaking, on the theme of resettlement.

Committee member Edna Penney shared with us this great image, which would have been a fairly typical sight during the resettlement period. It shows George and Annie Warren's house, being floated from Best's Harbour (Tack's Beach) to Arnold's Cove in July 1966.

If you've got a photo of a family house being floated, or hauled across the ice, we'd love to see it. Toss us a line at

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Arnold's Cove Water Truck, circa 1970

I mentioned in an earlier blog entry that we've been working with some local heritage enthusiasts in Arnold's Cove on a project to map out the legacy of resettlement in that community. We'll be running some community training over the next little bit, showing people how to create a Google map of some of their photos and stories.

The area of interest in Arnold's Cove contains over 70 buildings which were floated into the community during the resettlement period. The local heritage committee has located most of these on a paper map, and we'll be showing them how to transfer some of their collected information into a digital format which they can share online.

I drove out to Arnold's Cove this morning to plan out our workshop, and local volunteer Edna Penney showed me some of their historic material on the theme of resettlement.

The photo above is one of hundreds they've amassed. It was taken around March 1970, and shows one of the houses which was brought into Arnold's Cove. When the houses first arrived, many of them were not yet hooked up to town water, so the town had a water truck (pictured above) which delivered water to those dwellings.

If you have a memory of the Arnold's Cove water truck, or know any of the people in the photo, you can email me (Dale Jarvis) at

Monday, March 26, 2012

Capturing Craft Photo Contest deadline is March 30th. #nlcraft

The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador invites people across the province to participate in a special craft event as part of their 40th Anniversary celebrations. The Capturing Craft Photo Contest is a province-wide event encouraging the public to take a photo of their favourite craft item, local craft shop or a craft they're making themselves and share it with the Craft Council.

Deadline for entries is 4pm, March 30th, 2012.

Says spokesperson Jennifer Barnable, "Craft is everywhere in Newfoundland and Labrador. Every household has it, whether it's the coffee mug you use in the morning, the scarf you wear on a wintry day, the art on your walls, or the mat you put your boots on. We encourage people across the province to share their love of craft with us as we celebrate craft."

Photos with brief descriptive captions can be e-mailed, Facebooked or Tweeted to the Craft Council until March 30th. Four fine craft prizes will be announced on April 2nd. For full contest details and rules are outlined at

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Moravian architecture slides added to Memorial's Digital Archives Initiative

We are in the process of adding a series of scanned photographic slides to the ICH Inventory on Memorial University's Digital Archives Initiative. The Moravian Architecture of Labrador collection is from folklore thesis fieldwork I did along Labrador's north coast in the summer of 1995. At the moment, there are photos from Hopedale, North West River, and Happy Valley, with more photos to be added shortly from Nain, OKaK, Hebron, and beyond. All photos were digitized by DAI staffer Chris Mouland.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: Folk Art, Compliments of Vic

I'm not sure exactly how old this photo is, but I know I snapped it, on slide film, in Bay de Verde, possibly about 2001.  I love how much is crammed into this little display: fishing boats, dorries, part of what looks like an old make-and-break engine.

If you know anything about Vic, or about the objects in the photo, email me at