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Portrait Of An Artist

Portrait Of An Artist

Learning about photography, art and Yukon history from one of the territory's most beloved cartoonists
By Emily Sheff
Feb 24
2017
From the February 2017 Issue

He was an 83-year-old artist and photographer who was part of the very fabric of the Yukon. I was a young photographer who'd been here for three years. But when I approached Jim Robb—famous for his Colourful Five Per Cent comics depicting Yukon characters—one night as he exited the Gold Pan Saloon, and asked to take his portrait, I had no idea what a mentor and a friend I would find.

He taught me about the Yukon, the value of shooting in black and white, and about the stories that lurk out of plain sight in this territory.

Jim Robb came up to the Yukon at 22 years old, and became  determined to make a living as an artist. As the story goes, Jim saw Wigwam Harry dancing his one-of-a-kind jig in the bar one night and asked himself, “Why isn’t anyone capturing  his story?”

 While he made it his own mission to record the Yukon's history through his art, he's also put together one of the territory's best collections of historic artifacts.

Over the years, Jim Robb himself has become one of the territory's enduring characters. And he's befriended many others. Here is Captain Dick Stevenson, the man behind Dawson City's infamous Sourtoe Cocktail, holding a replica fish wheel he built many yea

Visit Emily Sheff's website for more of her work on Jim Robb.