Over 13,000 photographs by Bern Will Brown now publicly available
Over 13,000 photographs taken by Bern Will Brown have been made publicly available this week via the Northwest Territories (NWT) Archives, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment announced.
The collection consists largely of pictures showing northern life over Brown’s decades of living in and travelling the territory.
Brown was a painter, filmmaker, journalist, dog-musher, and pilot, among other vocations. Born in Rochester, New York, he came to the north in 1948 as a young priest with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
In 1971, he left the priesthood and married Margaret Steen of Inuvik. They spent over 40 years in Colville Lake, which he helped establish as a permanent community.
Throughout his life, Mr. Brown was said to have remembered the places he lived and travelled and the people he came to know through his photographs, paintings, and books.
His photos, ranging from black and white to colour, capture moments in time from the daily lives of northerners at work and play. Communities represented include Behchokǫ̀, Aklavik, Inuvik, Paulatuk, Délı̨nę, Fort Good Hope, Tulita, Fort Providence, Fort Smith, Colville Lake, and Fort Chipewyan.
While these photos only publicly launched in July, NWT Archives acquired this collection from Brown back in 2005, working collaboratively with the artist to record information about the people and places in the collection before his passing in 2014.