Mucky Lane Work

Detail of LGN 1130 - [Electric power lines running above lane east of Granville Street]. 1914. BCER.

Detail of LGN 1130 – [Electric power lines running above lane east of Granville Street]. 1914. BCER photo.

I have become quite fond of the work done in the early years of the 20th century by BC Electric Railway photographers. Most of these anonymous souls don’t seem to me to have been amateurs (although a few images are very over-exposed). The aspect of the BCER images which I most like is that they were differently motivated than were many commercial shots made by photographers for other clients. For the BCER, photographers seem to have been instructed (especially in the early years of power) to ‘shoot anything with wires’! Whether or not they were actually so instructed, many of the early BCER images capture scenes that weren’t attempted by many others for whatever reasons, often, I suspect — as with this image — because the scene wasn’t believed to be appealing to most viewers of their day.

Plainly the main motive for this shot (of which this is a cropped part) was to capture the electrical lines in this back lane ‘east of Granville Street’. In 1914, lanes were typically little more than dirt (or after some rain, as above, mud) trails. This shows a couple of garbage pickers of the day (whether official or unofficial). Their pony and wagon seem to be to the right. And, like today, “J. G.” couldn’t resist scrawling his or her initials on a lane-way wall (granite window sill at right, foreground).

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One Response to Mucky Lane Work

  1. Shona says:

    What an amazing photograph.

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