Minna Keene and Violet Keene Perinchief Collection

Screenshot from Ryerson Image Centre website

Ryesrson Image Centre has acquired a collection of works by two Canadian female photographers.

This exceptional collection of photographs, negatives, publications, and ephemera represents two generations of work by Canadians Minna Keene (1861–1943) and her daughter Violet Keene Perinchief (1893–1987).

Donated to the RIC by their family descendants, the archive illustrates the unique phenomenon of a professional mother-daughter photography practice, which operated successfully for many decades. Before settling in Canada in 1913, the German-born matriarch worked in South Africa and England, where she gained international acclaim and earned the honour of becoming the first woman admitted to the prestigious Royal Photographic Society.

Minna’s Pictorialist compositions include portraits, still life, landscape and nature studies, and scenes of everyday life, created using a diverse range of printing techniques and materials.

Violet Keene Perinchief learned photography alongside her mother, accompanying Minna on her 1914 trip to document the sublime landscape of Western Canada, commissioned by the Canadian Pacific Railway. As the manager of Eaton’s Portrait Studio in Toronto between 1933 and 1948, and at the family’s long-running studio in Oakville, Ontario, Violet specialized in portraits of subjects ranging from local clientele to notable personalities.

Featuring variant prints of the same image as well as the corresponding original negative—and, in some cases, related reproductions in print publications—this comprehensive collection provides an extraordinary resource for the study of the working methods of these two pioneering photographers.