Frances Robson

About the Artist

Frances Robson was born in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, and lived in several communities during her childhood.  One of these communities, Loon Lake, an area that was homesteaded during the 1920s and 1930s, had the biggest impact on her development. Loon Lake was an unusually tight-knit community in a province where community life is important; it was here that her grandfather established the family farm, and where her family eventually settled.

Unable to find work as a teacher, Robson’s father took up a farm at Loon Lake. The family lived a hand-to-mouth existence for some time. “Poverty is quite common in the Loon Lake area,” Robson later recalled. “We lived on welfare, farm produce and fish for several years until he (Robson’s father) was eligible for pensions.” (Saskatchewan Arts Board, Saskatchewan Portraits, 1984)

While Robson was young, her mother died, and to fill the void she spent time with the women in the community, who became an inspiration in her photographic work. In her photographs she explores women’s roles, activities, friendships, and links, and examines society’s attitudes toward women. As with fellow photographer Thelma Pepper, many of the subjects in Robson’s photos are elderly women.

Robson studied English, Art, and French at the University of Saskatchewan. She then studied art and photography at the University of Ottawa and The School of Art Institute of Chicago.

How She Became Interested in Photography- Taking Photos of Groups of People
Juxtaposing Women's Groups
Saskatoon Quilt Guild- Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1987
Searching for Identity
Why She Started Photographing Groups of Women
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning