Harry Rowed 1907-1987

Harry Rowed at the Jasper Park Lodge in the 1940s

In the early 1930s in Saskatchewan money was tight. With his gift for storytelling, an outgoing personality and an insatiable curiosity, Harry applied for a job as cub reporter for a small newspaper. The editor hired him on the condition that he learn to use a camera so he could do both the writing and photography. Within a few years Harry became a well-recognized photojournalist and was selected to cover the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, capturing haunting images of the rise of the Nazis.

Following the Olympics he vagabonded and photographed through Germany, Austria, France and England, before returning to Canada to become the Director of Photo Services for the National Film Board in Ottawa. In this position he travelled extensively throughout Canada documenting the people, industry and landscapes of the country.

His projects covered many diverse subjects, such as the Quebec Conference in 1944 (with Churchill, Roosevelt and Mackenzie King), the formation of the UN, logging in British Columbia, fishing in the north, coal mining in the Crowsnest, and wild rice harvesting in Manitoba. During the war his assignments took him to the Rockies, both summer and winter, covering Lovat Scout and Canadian mountain troop training.

Shortly after the war he moved to Jasper with his wife, Geneviève, and daughter, Daphne.

From the 1940s through the 1970s his commercial and editorial work documented the early days of the oil industry in Alberta and the NWT, as well as the airline industry, including Trans Canada Airlines (later to become Air Canada) and Canadian Pacific Airlines. Much of his time for CPA was documenting Mexico in the 1950s, especially Puerto Vallarta, then a quiet fishing village.

Harry also photographed extensively through the South Pacific, including Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand. In Europe he covered Greece, Spain and Portugal.

When not on assignments in distant countries, he ski toured and climbed in the Canadian Rockies, becoming an active member of the Alpine Club of Canada and attending numerous mountaineering and ski camps starting in 1939.

His work, whether commercial or editorial, showed his roots in photojournalism, focusing on the people, their stories and the land where they worked and lived.

Harry died in 1987 in Kelowna, British Columbia at age 79. His son, Scott Rowed, and granddaughter, Genny Mae Rowed, are working to preserve and digitize these exceptional negatives and transparencies as a means of sharing his legacy.