FRANK, Leonard (1870-1944)




Author Tags: 1900-1950, Essentials 2010, Photography

QUICK REFERENCE ENTRY:

Leonard Frank, B.C.’s pre-eminent commercial photographer for the first half of the century, documented the rise of British Columbia, as showcased in Cyril Leonoff’s An Enterprising Life: Leonard Frank Photographs 1895–1944 (1990).

Born in Germany in 1870 as the son of a photographer, Leonard Frank went to the California gold fields at age 22 and gravitated north to Port Alberni, B.C., where he managed a general store. Following his move to Vancouver in 1917, he became the most successful photographer in the city, documenting the growth of vibrant industries. From 1920 until his death in 1944, Frank was the official Dominion of Canada photographer on the West Coast. He also documented the internment of Japanese-Canadians during WWII for the B.C. Security Commission, generating the impression that the confiscation of property and the evacuation and forced incarceration of thousands was orderly and humane. Photographer Otta Landauer purchased and continued Frank’s business after his death in Vancouver in 1944.

Including a biography of Frank, Cyril Leonoff’s coffee table book, An Enterprising Life, won numerous awards including the City of Vancouver Heritage Award and a B.C. Historical Association Award. Leonoff also published Leonard Frank, Bridges of Light: Otto Landauer of Leonard Frank Photos 1945–1980 (1997) and an important pictorial history of Jews in B.C. and the Yukon.


FULL ENTRY:

As B.C.'s pre-eminent photographer for the first half of the century, Leonard Juda Frank was an industrial photographer who documented the rise of British Columbia.

Born in Berne, Germany on July 3, 1870, Leonard Frank was the son of one of Germany's first professional photographers. At age 22, he went to the California gold fields and gravitated north two years, intending to search for gold. In 1898 he managed a general store in Port Albern where he began taking landscape photographs as an outdoorsman. Following his move to Vancouver in 1917, he became the leading commercial photographer in the city, documenting the growth of vibrant industries. From 1920 until his death in 1944, Frank was the official Dominion of Canada photographer on the West Coast. Known for his excellent photos of logging, he also documented the internment of Japanese-Canadians during World War II for the B.C. Security Commission, generating the impression that the confiscation of property and the evacuation and forced incarceration of thousands was orderly and humane. Photographer Otta Landauer purchased and continued Frank's business after his death on February 23, 1944 in Vancouver. Including a biography of Leonard Frank, Cyril E. Leonoff's coffee table book An Enterprising Life won numerous awards including the City of Vancouver Heritage Award and a B.C. Historical Association Award. [See Cyril Leonoff]

[BCBW 2010]