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- Ernest Trio
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Ernest William Albert Crocker was born in Yorkshire, England in 1877. In 1902, he immigrated to Canada, passing through the United States, and establishing himself in Winnipeg, Manitoba. From there, he moved to Vancouver where he started the Trio Photograph and Supply Company with two other English emigrants in 1903. They soon moved to Victoria but disbanded shortly afterwards, leaving Crocker to continue as the sole photographer at the studio.
Crocker’s early years as a photographer were marked by his postcards and other tourism photography which he sold at the Empress Hotel’s cigar shop. This enterprise caught the eyes of Victoria financiers who contracted Crocker to photograph mining prospects in the south, taking him to Mexico in 1910.
During the First World War, Crocker worked as an independent photographer under the Trio name at a military camp established at Exhibition Grounds at Willows. Several of these pictures appeared in newspapers. After the war, he continued photographing military subjects, contracting his services to several military training camps around Victoria. He also photographed important dignitaries, including members of the Royal Family while on official visits. During this time, Crocker also diversified his portfolio with landscape and portrait photography, snapshotting scenes around Vancouver Island, the Mainland Coast, the CPR route and the Cariboo Trail, some of which were published. Down the Cowichan River, Crocker also took photographs of Aboriginal communities.
During the Second World War, Crocker again focused his work on Victoria’s military activities, photographing officials and visiting military dignitaries at Work Point Barracks in Esquimalt and at the Officers Training Camp at Gordon Head. In 1946, renovations forced Crocker to vacate his suite on the top floor of the Imperial Bank Chambers where his studio had been established for 38 years. He never reopened his studio.
After the closure of the Trio studio, Crocker continued to reside in Victoria. As his health declined, he was moved to a nursing home where he passed away in 1968.
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Biographical information from accession file and Reflections of a past era : the photography collection of Ernest William Albert Crocker 1908-1946 / by Ellen Louise Peel