Through the Lens of
Jack Cash:
1939-1970

Jack Cash, Canadian photographer, was born in 1918 and created thousands of images throughout his career. Many of his black and white photographs of ships being launched at Burrard Dry Docks during World War II became icons of North Vancouver’s importance in world events during wartime.

What began as a hobby, quickly accelerated into a profession as Cash’s talent for capturing the industrial waterfront from dramatic vantage points was heralded in the Wallace Shipbuilder. Later, with studios on the North Shore, Cash pursued freelance work as a commercial photographer in earnest, resulting in loyal clients and assignments for Western Homes and Living. Initially working within the social documentary tradition, Jack Cash drew upon humanist philosophy, formalist values, and respect for photographic craft. His commercial assignments resulted in views of cultivated lands and built environments – the faces of farmers and workers. By the early to mid-1960s, Cash focused on the place of landscape in the Canadian imagination. Using techniques of hand painting black & white images, Cash embraced the dramatic style of colour photography and blurred the boundaries among documentation, photographic art and the tradition of painting.

Jack Cash was an artist, entrepreneur and family man. Known affectionately as “Happy Jack”, he spent his final years skippering onboard his beloved charter boat “The Columbian”. This exhibition celebrates Cash’s contribution to Canadian photography.

In addition to the archival materials held by the North Vancouver Museum & Archives, Cash’s photographic prints are preserved for future generations to enjoy in the holdings of the Royal BC Museum & Archives, UBC Rare Books and Special Collections, Vancouver Public Library Special Collections Historical Photographs, and the City of Burnaby Archives. Both the McCord Museum and the NVMA have held exhibitions that featured photographs by Jack Cash.

Photo Credits

Jack Cash posing with camera, 6 March 1947. NVMA Fonds 164

North Yard diver Paddy Smith on the cover of the Wallace Shipbuilder issue, photograph by Jack Cash, August 1943. NVMA #Item 951

Window display at Jack Cash Photographic Studios, 1629 Marine Drive, ca. 1950s. NVMA Fonds 164

Camera display photos by Jessica Bushey


Part of the Capture Photography Festival

Online exhibit design inspired by Ria Kawaguchi.