Changes Upstream - the Photographs of Stanley G. Triggs

Stanley G. Triggs

Stan Triggs

Stanley Triggs in a rented rowboat on the Kootenay River near Wardner, BC, 1970

Stanley Triggs, former curator of the Notman Photographic Archives, McCord Museum was born June 3, 1928 in Nelson, BC. His father, William Alfred Triggs was a purser on the C.P.R.'s B.C. Lake and River Service and his mother, Violet Mawer Triggs, was the daughter of W.H. Mawer, a commercial gardener. Stanley Triggs grew up surrounded by music, photography and an extended family with a love for the outdoors. His interest as a young man in sports such as swimming and hiking led Stanley Triggs to gravitate towards an occupation that would enable him to work for the BC Forest Service in the Lardeau/Duncan valleys. Triggs left the Lardeau in 1953 to go to the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara but returned every summer until he finished school in 1956. Throughout the time he worked in the Lardeau/Duncan he was recording with his camera the people, the places and the lifestyles of the valleys. Always interested in history he studied the folk songs and oral histories of the pioneers captured their images in a series of portraits.

In 1956 Stanley Triggs returned to school to pursue a degree in Fine Arts and Anthropology at UBC. Shortly after completing his studies he was hired by the Notman Archives in Montreal. He began work in December 1965 and retired 28 years later.

The photographs of the people living in the Kootenay River/Lake Koocanusa area were taken during summer holidays in the years 1969 to 1972 when Triggs and his family travelled across the country to return to his childhood home in Nelson, BC. The family travelled to the East Kootenay communities and Triggs documented the people and the landscape before and after the building of the Libby Dam and the subsequent flooding of the valley north of the Canada - USA border.