A Life In The Wilderness

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specifically referred to as movie trips. A fair portion of his
footage was purchased by Fox Movietone News for national and
international distribution.
Harmon’s photographic ability and entrepreneurial inventiveness
were matched by a strong sense of civic responsibility.
Remembered by all as a ‘model citizen’, he was a founding
member of the Banff Board of Trade (a forerunner of both the
Chamber of Commerce and the Banff Advisory Council), a
member of the school board for many years, an organizer of the
Banff Conservative Association, a charter member of the Rotary
Club, a major investor in a newspaper meant to compete with
the Crag and Canyon (making him an unwilling participant in an
ensuing political feud), and a member of numerous other local
committees, boards, and associations. For its part, the town was
more than pleased with its photographer, who was keeping
Banff well in the eye of the North American press. As the Crag
put it in 1919:
Bryon Harmon is the best asset Banff has in the line of advertising the village to the outside world. Nothing of importance occurs but he is present with his movie camera, and the Harmon films of Banff and the mountains are becoming known wherever there is a movie house.
Crag & Canyon, 1919
In the same year he received the culminating recognition of his career. The Government of Canada, with the Alpine Club of Canada, asked Harmon to be one of four representatives to the International Congress of Alpinism in Monaco in May 1920. The trip was a triumph. His old trail companion, Wheeler, reported in the Canadian Alpine Journal (xi, 1920):
With the whole-hearted assistance of Mr. Harmon your director was enabled to arrange a magnificent exhibit of photographic enlargements, some 150 in number, of the most striking scenic features of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, A Biographical Portrait of Byron Harmon I 17 comprised chiefly of Mr. Harmon’s beautiful pictures and unsurpassed motion films ....
A.O. Wheeler
The exhibition was, by all reviews, a show-stopper, particularly the movies. According to Wheeler, ‘they carried his audience off its feet and [Harmon] was called on to show them again and again throughout the duration of the Congress.’

Monaco, as it turned out, was but one of several locations in which the exhibit received rave reviews. On his way there Harmon had exhibited his prints on the floor of the Canadian House of Commons (selling prints to nearly all the members of Parliament), and after the Congress he showed his films before the Royal Geographical Society in London and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh.

On the strength of the 1920 jaunt, Harmon returned to Europe in the winter of 1923-4, exhibiting prints and showing films in the major centres of France, Germany, and Great Britain and returning with contracts for over 15,000 feet of film- no small amount in the early twenties. The mountain photographer had arrived.

Despite his successes, Harmon remained a quiet and modest person, the sort of man, according to old-timers, whom one might take for granted. An immaculate dresser in town, a near teetotaller and non-smoker, he avoided the social activities of Banff, preferring to spend his time with his family* or his work. Not that he was unfriendly; he merely had other things on his mind than curling, cards, and dancing, the three major Banff social pastimes.

One of the things on his mind, of course, was his continuing work with the Rockies and the Selkirks.

*His first marriage was to Maud Moore in either 1909 or 1910. Three children-Aileen, Lloyd, and Don-were born in 1912,1914, and 1917. Don was born on the same night the theatre burned down, something Harmon used to tease him about: ‘Worst time of my life,’ he would say, ‘two disasters in one night.’ A second marriage, to Rebecca Pearl Shearer, took place in Seattle in 1928.

A Life In The Wilderness

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