Skip to content

POSTCARD MEMORIES: 'Midland's photographer' captured town's enfance

'J.W. Bald’s work is a complete record of the life, work and play of small-town Ontario,' notes Huronia Museum, which has large collection of his photographs, postcards and equipment

He could be called Midland’s photographer.

Many area residents have likely come across a postcard or picture created through the lens of prolific photographer John Witherspoon Bald.

Known as J.W. Bald, he was responsible for capturing many important moments of the town’s early history as well as providing a great glimpse into life at the time.

Bald was born on April 7, 1868 in Parsonstown, Ireland and died in 1961.

According to Huronia Museum archives, Bald began his first photographic business in Penetanguishene.

In 1896, he purchased a studio in Midland on King Street with his photographic career beginning shortly after the introduction of gelatine dry- plate photography.

“This type of plate was commercially prepared and could be stored prior to exposure,” the museum notes. “This was a major improvement over the earlier collodion wet plates, improving the process and freeing photographers to take photographs practically anywhere.”

Bald would go on to record life in his community from 1890 until 1953 when he retired.

He was well known for portraits, landscapes and other commercial photographs.

He worked for both Midland newspapers, the Free Press and the Argus and also developed an extensive postcard business.

“Bald’s work is a complete record of the life, work and play of small-town Ontario,” the museum adds. “Business, ships, harbour life, industries, social life, hunting, tourism, sports, portraits, all subjects found in his work."

The Huroria Museum has an extensive collection of Bald’s photographs, postcards and equipment.

Reader Feedback

Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country’s most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
Read more