Del Monte Studio collection

Fonds/Collection, 2020_03

The Del Monte Studio was started in Yarrow in 1947 by Henry Martens. Henry could not get into photography school in Canada after WWII so traveled to New York and Washington, where he took double classes in order to complete his studies in half the time. When it was established, Del Monte Studio was both the first and only photographic studio in Yarrow. During the Studio’s early days, Henry lived in the back of the Central Road shop. In 1952, he moved the Studio to 2757 Montrose Ave. in Abbotsford. In the late 1960s, Henry sold the business to his nephew, Orlando Martens. After the sale, Henry and his wife, Frieda Martens, went on to operate Pro-Am Colour Lab. Orlando Martens had taken a six-month course in photography in New York City at the age of eighteen or nineteen. Upon returning from the course he opened a studio in his hometown of Coalmont, Alberta which he operated until purchasing Del Monte Studio. Orlando became a prolific photographer, and the one that most associated with Del Monte Studio. Orlando and Henry had fought over the introduction of colour photography at the studio, as Henry had only offer black and white photographs during his tenure. Orlando's photographic output was very high, completing around 1,200 sittings per year. In 1968 the basement of Del Monte Studio was flooded from fire hose run off from a fire fight that took place at Town and Country Men's Wear and Andee's Style Shop across the street. The negatives and proofs stored in the basement were destroyed as a result. In 1973 Del Monte Studio participated in the Chilliwack Progress's Brides to Be contest. Sales slips from Del Monte Studio and other local businesses were used to submit to the contest and a wedding photo album from Del Monte was part of the first prize. Orlando Martens passed away in 1989 and the Studio and its holdings were eventually purchased by Pieter Dippenaar. An application to formally dissolve the business was submitted in 2003.