The Lingford and Honey Photography Studio Diorama is open for the season! Thanks to funding from the City of Salmon Arm's Grants-in-Aid program administered by the Shuswap Community Foundation last year and the British Columbia  CERIP program, contractor Wayne Peace was hired to build the Studio this winter. The seventh of nine dioramas is complete!






Salmon Arm Museum and Heritage Association President Norma Harisch has put the finishing touches on her photographer’s backdrop. Although she finished the painting last winter, she continues to make small changes.  It is hard to resist, she says.

The scene was taken from archival photographs taken in the studio we’ve recreated and painted on a canvas. It is the third time Harisch has painted a large scale landscape for the curator’s exhibits and she was up to the challenge. This time, though, Harisch insisted on “real” artist quality paints, not the house paints I had supplied previously. This is a permanent exhibit and has to last. Besides, our artist in residence has standards!

The Studio exhibit is a nod to the most important archival record we have of our community, the glass plate negative collections stored in the archives vault. Thanks to another project years ago, the images have been preserved for future generations. The original gelatin lifts from the images over time. The process is natural and a result of the organic nature of the technology. New images are printed from high resolution digital scans of the negatives.

Visitors to the park can take their photo in front of Norma’s painting and see how a rudimentary darkroom works. Ever wondered why most professionals took a holiday after the Christmas rush in Salmon Arm? The chemicals used in developing the images are unstable when temperature dips and fluctuates. The museum’s glass plate negative collections show few winter scenes.

We are fortunate to have living relatives of the photographers who are taking an interest in the diorama. Some of the stories we’ve gathered include Reba Honey remembering scraping the gelatin off the glass plates so they could be used as negatives again. It wasn’t considered recycling or child labour when Reba was working in the family business!

An official opening of the Studio is planned for September when the Bedford diorama is also complete. General Manager Susan Mackie has promised to throw a party! It has been too long since we’ve gathered at the Village and all of us want to show off our accomplishments.

Photo credits: photographs of professional photographers are a rare find. Rex Lingford is pictured on the left with his glasses. W.J. Honey is on the right. Both images were cropped from group photographs. 

The photo of Rex Lingford was taken by Blundell Studios when he was employed as the City Clerk. The photo of W.J. Honey is assumed to have been taken by Rex Lingford, but no one knows for sure.