Community Memories from Murray McKenzie

Murray McKenzie

Murray McKenzie was born in 1927 at Cumberland House, Saskatchewan.  He was 17 years old when he laid hands on his first camera, given to him as a patient in a tuberculosis sanatorium in 1944.   He kept on taking pictures, crediting his hospital stay for launching his lifelong love of photography. He was a graduate of the New York School of Photography.

“Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned in life and photography is to be sensitive to the inner feelings of the people I’m trying to capture in my pictures, “ Murray once said. 

Many of his pictures accompanied articles written by friend and Winnipeg Free Press reporter Bob Lowrey.  His photographs appeared in the Toronto Star and Time magazine. In 1995 he and Mr. Lowery travelled to Germany where he presented an exhibit of his photographs of aboriginal people. His portraits ranged from toddlers to weather-beaten trappers.  “I want to portray my aboriginal people with their lively, joyous spirit, their many, many talents, and their natural dignity.”   Many of his photographs did just that.

Murray also worked as a trapper, pulp wood cutter and miner, and he produced the first Cree language radio program ever offered by Northern Manitoba radio stations.