Fernie & Elk Valley Culture Guide Issue 6 - Fall 2017 - Page 4

A Vision for Fernie's future – J F Spalding When Joseph Frederick Spalding arrived in Fernie in 1904 the town was just six years old with a population of 1,400. He was a 27-year-old photographer from London, likely seeking the landscapes that would make him famous through his art. Over the next 22 years, Spalding chronicled the life of a burgeoning mining town, including the heyday 1910's when the population ballooned to over 6,000. His photographs meticulously portray the pride, prosperity, and poverty that defined Fernie in its early years. On the wide boulevard of 2nd Avenue he captured the Edwardian elegance that 4 belies the town's humble stature. On the railway, in the forests, on the river, and in the mines, he photographed men working, building, and forging the future. Spalding’s pictures tell the story of the birth of a community and how society—elephants and all—developed in this far-flung corner of the Canadian promised land. Spalding brought with him a small photography business when he arrived, and in 1905 bought an established studio from A.W. Prest. He worked hard to offer every photographic service possible including portraiture with ‘fancy lighting’, postcard images