Circulating Exhibit

Robert Flaherty’s Northern Focus:
Photographs of Canada’s Arctic Peoples, 1910-1914

A Circulating Exhibit

Robert J. Flaherty
is widely recognized as the father of the documentary film, primarily for his 1921 film “Nanook of the North”. But before he made movies, Flaherty won his reputation as a superb still photographer of Canada’s Arctic peoples. The 34 photographs in this travelling exhibit, reproduced from the archives of the Thunder Bay Museum, were created between 1910 and 1914 when Flaherty first explored the regions bordering Hudson Bay between Moose Factory and Baffin Island.

Flaherty’s images are not primarily documentary in nature. What we see are the faces of an independent, yet open people, still largely immersed in their own culture. But lifestyle was not Flaherty’s main interest. His subjects are not stereotypes but real people rendered through his camera with the depth and tonal quality of paintings, and with an interest centering on personality largely independent of race, costume or detail. As Simeonie Kopapik, an Inuit from Baffin Island, later remarked of the portraits: “If these were in moving pictures they would be very real Inuit” – a testament to the enduring force of Flaherty’s vision.


  • 34 high quality reproductions of Flaherty’s work prepared in 17 frames (17.5” x 19”) for display.
  • Labels with bilingual text.
  • 1 large introductory panel, 2 smaller introductory panels.

Space Required:

  • 600 – 1200 square feet, depending upon configuration.

Crate Dimensions:

  • 1 crate (4’x 2’x 2’); 82 kg.; wheeled

Supplementary Materials:

  • Calendars and other promotional materials will be made available along with a DVD/VHS video (English only) about the photo album.
  • Educational programs and activities package for teachers (English only).

English and French labels

Commercial carrier. Borrower pays one-way

Participation Fee:
$250 per 8-week period

Christie Parry
Education Services Manager
Thunder Bay Museum
425 Donald Street East
Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7E 5V1
(807) 623-0801; fax: (807) 622-6880