Artist and writer Celia Rabinovitch has created an exhibit for the Manitoba Museum featuring photographs of Nick Yudell, a cousin who grew up with the Rabinovitch family in Morden and died as an RAF pilot in World War II.

Celia describes how, when Yudell was twelve, a family member gave him a camera, and over the next decade he took 300 photos. He wrote the time, date, place, and people’s names on each photo, and put the negatives in brown envelopes in a gray box he made for them.

“He became very passionate about photography. He had to study it, and in 1933 he came back to Morden, and when there was no work he worked in the store with my father, Milton. I know because I have the store records of the old account ledger, which was a McCaskey account ledger straight out of Deadwood – a big oak ledger, and there was a book with all the received from the store, and I can tell the difference between Nick’s handwriting and my dad’s handwriting.”

This collection of photos taken in the 1920s and 1930s captures the lives of ordinary people living in Morden, Winnipeg and southern Manitoba.

Celia explains that these images captured different themes of play, location, portraits and self-portraits.

“All of these stories, whether it’s the family members and then the townspeople, are intertwined in his photographs. We have a number of photographs of Nick Burgess, who is the baker’s son. We have photographs of Edith Dickie and Marian Vrooman as some of the people who are nurses Marian Vrooman who was the chief nurse so he had great artistic and professional ambitions as a photographer and also as a pilot.

Rabinovitch said the Morden community, especially Morden’s Ron Laverty and his sister Lenore Laverty, encouraged her to develop an exhibit of these photos, hidden away for decades, into something to share with others.

The exhibition at the Manitoba Museum has been extended until fall 2022. The Manitoba Museum is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on the exhibition, click here. Donations for the exhibit are gratefully accepted.

You can watch the full interview with Morden born, Celia Rabinovitch in the video below.

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