Norwood, Robert

Other Name: Bob
Sex: Male
Birth Date/Place: 1905 in Hubbards
Death Date/Place: 1985
Technique:
  • Filmmaking
  • Photography

Biographical Links:

Robert Norwood was a friend of  teh Eric Redden family and he often spent time with them in Chester. Robert photographed many of his friends and their children.  Often he did posed photographs for others who knew him.

The main subject of Norwood's work are scenes and activities on the Halifax waterfront. Other images are of Halifax streets, buildings and activities; Nova Scotian fishing villages and activities relating to fisheries; scenic views of Nova Scotia; and portraits of individuals, some of which were taken in New York City and at Norwood's Halifax studio, including prominent Nova Scotians and military personnel. Other subjects of his photographs include traditional methods of agriculture, coopering, blacksmithing, and transportation; the construction of the Canso Causeway and the Angus L. MacDonald Bridge, Halifax; Springhill Mine disaster; Oak Island treasure hunt; Annapolis Valley Blossom Festival; Lunenburg Bicentennial Celebration; scenes of Halifax during the Second World War, mainly ships in the harbour; SS Empress of Britain leaving Halifax after the Royal visit in 1939; reconstruction of the Halifax Citadel; and the Fairey Aviation Canada plant at Dartmouth. Fonds also contains film footage of inshore fishermen and Annapolis Valley scenes, as well as correspondence, notes, newspaper clippings, and accounts pertaining to photographic equipment and supplies; and assignments with The Halifax Herald Ltd., The Toronto Star and Jack Chisholm Film Productions.

The Public Archives of Nova Scotia purchased 434 photographs from Robert Norwood in 1981 and received the material in two parts, in 1982 and 1983. In 1987 and 1991 his son Edmund Norwood donated to the archives most of Norwood's remaining negatives taken as a professional photographer, as well as his textual records and films.



Robert W. Norwood, professional photographer, was born at Hubbards, N.S. on 4 April 1905, the eldest son of Dr. Edward Norwood and Stella (Keans). He attended St. Mary's High School in Halifax and returned to Hubbards where he worked odd jobs to help support his family after his father's death in 1918. When Norwood was nineteen, he accompanied his uncle, poet and Anglican clergyman Dr. Robert Norwood, to New York. Robert Norwood's son Ted had been shot in a moose hunting accident and he wanted his nephew, Robert to stay with the family and escort his two daughters.

There he learned photography while working as an assistant to art and fashion photographer Edward Steichen. Norwood recalls, .."You never knew who was coming ...run down and open the door and in comes Norma Shearer". * He accompanied Steichen to photograph Herbert Hoover when he was elected president. He remembered photographing Mrs. Polk, "a rich old lady on Fifth Avenue who travelled to Europe with her own private mattress."* Norwood left Steichen's firm in 1929 and briefly joined a large photographic firm in Philadelphia before returning to Nova Scotia in 1930.

He married Ruth Brownie of Ingramport at Halifax and practiced photography in Liverpool, New Glasgow and Hubbards before opening his own studio on Barrington Street in Halifax in 1938. From 1947 to 1964 he was staff photographer for the Halifax Herald. Norwood continued to do freelance photography for the newspaper and began a second career in filmmaking, producing short, scenic news, and documentary films for CBC and also on a freelance basis. One his films "The Windward Shore", was shown during the 1959[-Royal Visit. In 1971 he won an award for the best live newscast in Canada for footage of the burning of the Anglican Church at Mill Cove and the collapse of the fiery steeple.* In 1976 he and his wife retired to Shoreham Village near Chester, where he died on 4 November 1985.

The Public Archives of Nova Scotia purchased 434 photographs from Robert Norwood in 1981 and received the material in two parts, in 1982 and 1983. In 1987 and 1991 his son Edmund Norwood donated to the archives most of Norwood's remaining negatives taken as a professional photographer, as well as his textual records and films

*The Life and Photography of Robert Norwood, the Elder Statesman by Edmund (Ned) Norwood. 1985

Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management

 

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