Publication ~ Flapjacks & Photographs

In 1898, Mattie Gunterman, her husband Will and their young son Henry left Seattle and walked to the Kootenay region of south-eastern British Columbia, carrying their belongings with them. Mining and logging camps populated the region and the Guntermans worked as cooks in many a silver pit and stump ranch, settling finally in Beaton on Upper Arrow Lake of the Columbia River. In the years following the boom times, Mattie and her family witnessed the the decline of resource based communities and the resultant rise of ghost towns, forcing them to find work as itinerant cooks over a vast area stretching from Alberta to Idaho.

Mattite Gunterman was a prolific photographer, creating a visual record of the events and antics of her family, friends and community. Her spirited photographs – more than one hundred of them are reproduced here, fully one third of which are self portraits and posed tableau – provide an intimate, autobiographical journal of a rough but exciting time in the history of the West.

Combining photography, history and biography, Flapjacks & Photographs presents a rich narrative of Mattie Gunterman's life in the Pacific Northwest at the turn of the 20th Century.

Robideau, Henri. Flapjacks & Photographs. Vancouver: Polestar Book Publishers. 1995. Soft cover, 9 inches x 9 inches, 204 pages, perfect bound, 3 maps, 160 black and white photographs, index of Vancouver Public Library photo catalogue numbers.

 ISBN 1-896095-03-8. Printed in an edition of 3000 copies. 868 copies shredded by Raincoast Books in contravention of the author's contract. Price at time of release $24.95. Out of print.

Sisters Anne and Rose Williams "punish" Mattie on the dining room heater at the Nettie-L, getting even with her for taking pictures while they had to do the dishes. Vancouver Public Library 2276.

Two miners air drilling blast holes deep in the bowels of the Nettie-L mine. Hard rock miners endured eight back-breaking hours of cold, dark, dirt, dust and noise, risking deafness, blindness, black lung and dented skulls for a mere $3.50 a day. Vancouver Public Library 2329.

Many thanks to the people responsible for saving of Mattie Gunterman's photographs:

Ron D'Altroy, curator of  the Vancouver Public Library Historical Photograph Section. Back in the 1950's Mr. D'Altroy saved Mattie's glass plate negatives from the hydro-electric flooding of the Arrow Lakes. Henri Robideau photo 1985.

Addie and Avery Gunterman on the porch of their log house. Avery Gunterman provided background on the story of his grandmother's life as well as his collection of her remaining photographs. Henri Robideau photo 1982.