Williams Brothers

Photos 1, 2 & 5 Paul Wong, 3, 4, 6, 7 & 8 Jon Vincent/VANDOCUMENT

Mining, Fishing, Logging

hand-tinted photographs, courtesy of the Rick Erickson collection

Curator: Rick Erickson


Donn Williams was born Sept. 20, 1920 in Lavington, B.C., just outside Vernon. His family moved to Vancouver in 1923 and he was a resident of Vancouver since then with the exception of his five years of service during World War II in the R.C.A.F. and photographic training in California. Prior to enlistment he worked with his father who manufactured furniture and had a retail store on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. In 1939 Donn served with his brother Warner with the Irish Fusiliers Reserve. They served in the R.C.A.F. as aerial photographers from 1940-1945. After the war Donn and Warner furthered their photographic training in a two-year program at the Art Centre College in Los Angeles California. On their return to Vancouver in 1948 they co-established a commercial photography studio under the name of Williams Bros. Ltd. In 1950 they opened Williams Colour Photofinishing in addition to their commercial studio. Donn operated the commercial studio and Warner ran the photofinishing lab. The lab was sold in 1981 after the death of Warner in 1980. In 1955 he purchased the Steffens-Colmer Studio. After forty years as a commercial photographer Donn semi-retired in 1988. He closed his studio and continued to work from his home in a semi-active capacity for some of his long time clients until July 1999. On April 30, 1999 Donn changed the name of his company from Williams Bros. Photographers Ltd. to Williams Photography. Donn died on November 1, 1999.