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Imagine seeing for the first time a place in the world you have only previously heard about in stories or read about in the newspaper. In the age of the Internet and international broadcast companies, images of far off places are not so difficult to obtain. Step back just 200 years and such a feat would be unheard of. In the early 1860s, Canada, particularly the western part of the country, was a wild and unexplored area and few Europeans had ever gazed upon the majestic Rocky Mountains or seen the shores of the Pacific Ocean. George Robinson Farden showcased photos he had taken of Vancouver Island at London's International Exhibition in 1862 and the visual barrier officially came crumbling down. Photography may not have changed the world, but it certainly changed the way people saw it.

"Phoenix" by Timothy Meerman.Photography, in its most primitive forms has been around since the early 19th century. Entrepreneurs from the United States would often cross the border to sell daguerreotypes, images made with a silvered plate and mercury vapour. In 1858, the Province of Canada sent a photographer along on an exploratory mission into the western part of the country, a sizable feat considering the weight and complexity of early photography equipment. The photographs that came back proved to be some of the first ever taken in Canada. During the gold rush in the late part of the century, ambitious daguerreotypists headed north to seek a different kind of fortune, plying their trade to the newly wealthy.

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Alberta photographer Peter Morrow. talks about what factors he must consider when taking a photograph. Listen Now

One of Alberta's first photographic associations was founded in 1938. The Edmonton Photo Club began as the Cine club where members met to write, act and produce their own movies. The sharing of photographs was soon introduced and competitions and prizes were awarded for the most popular prints.

Selection of photographic art by Wes Bell.Today, institutions such as the Alberta Professional Photographers Association work as a supportive network to those who make their living off of mirrored images. As a visual art, it is probably one of the most versatile and accessible; though many attend courses and specialize in photography, the average person is able to produce professional quality prints.

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