'Valentine is indeed a hero in the photographic sense,' says photographer lobbying for Halifax memorial
HALIFAX -- You may not know the history behind William Valentine, but maybe you should.
"He opened the first permanent photo studio in Halifax in January of 1842," said Halifax photographer Dale Wilson.
It's a distinction that Wilson is trying to put front and centre.
"We tend to be somewhat reserved in bragging about our heroes," Wilson said. "Mr. Valentine is indeed a hero in the photographic sense."
Not much is known about Valentine until he arrived in Halifax in 1818.
"At that point and time there was no such thing as photography as we know it, so he was to work the next 20 years as a painter and in so doing became known as one of the most prominent and some of the best expertise with oils in Nova Scotia in fact," Wilson said.
Some of those paintings can be found to say at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum.
Historians believe Valentine started using photography in 1839, but it's been challenging to pinpoint his work.
"The photographers and the artists of that time period, for the most part, didn't sign their work," Wilson said. "It's made it difficult to piece two and two together, and many times you have to piece together components being things like art historians, conservators, wardrobe experts, styles, and this all goes to piece various elements together."
A Twitter account chronicling cemeteries around Halifax featured a photo of Valentine's gravestone in Halifax's Camp Hill Cemetery, asking people to spare thought for him if they're taking a selfie with their sweetie.
Wilson is pushing for another memorial, to be placed where Valentine had his photo shop, around the area where the Cogswell interchange is now, and an area which is being primed for a potential re-development.
Wilson says a little recognition for Halifax as the "cradle of photography in British North America" is in order.