The introduction of dry glass photographic plates in the 1870s to replace the time-consuming wet plate or collodion process made the use of photography in the field much easier.
Geological Survey of Canada geologists, including George Dawson, Alfred Selwyn, Joseph Tyrrell, and Albert Low, with their diverse interests and responsibilities for every aspect of natural history, used photography to record much of historical as well as scientific merit during their wide-ranging travels. Their photographs are an invaluable visual journal of their exploration across Canada as its boundaries grew, as well as their interactions with the First Nations people they encountered.
More than 150 of these photographs, for which negatives still exist in the Survey’s extensive photo library, were assembled in 1967 in a special publication called Early Canada to mark Canada’s Centennial. The images provide an intriguing window into the Canada of the late 19th century and the work of Canada’s pioneering geologists.
Hall, E. (comp.), 1967. Early Canada, a collection of historical photographs by officers of the Geological Survey of Canada / Le Canada d’hier, une collection de photographies historiques prises par le personnel de la Commission géologique du Canada; Geological Survey of Canada, Miscellaneous Report 14, 137 p. doi:10.4095/119934