Byron Harmon, born on February 9,1876 near Tacoma, Washington was the youngest of three children of Hill and Clara Smith Harmon. Hill Harmon disappeared shortly after Byron’s birth. In the late 1880’s Kodak marketed the first roll film camera. Byron unable to afford one, fashioned a crude pin hole camera as his first camera. He opened a small portrait studio probably in the mid 1890’s. Byron left Tacoma and travelled though the American Southwest and to the Eastern Seaboard to New York and then back west through Canada working as an itinerant portrait photographer. During his travels he visited Banff where he discovered the beautiful landscape, relief from his asthma and in 1909 opened Banff’s first photography studio. Byron became the official photographer of The Alpine Club of Canada documenting their annual climbing trips and exhibitions which led to his own photographic tours focusing primarily on landscapes. He started producing a line of mountain views to sell to the tourists and by 1907 he advertised the largest collection of Canadian Rockies postcards in existence(over 100 views). Byron Harmon developed an impressive line of postcards, viewbooks and calendars that were initially mass produced in Germany, England and Vancouver and later in his own Banff studio. Many of these were promotional material for Canadian Pacific Railway and he had a collection called “Along the Line of the CPR”. Over the years Byron joined many organizations in Banff and expanded his photography store to include theatre, curio shop, book store, beauty parlor and was a true entrepreneur. In 1920 he was a representative and exhibited his photographs at the International Congress of Alpinism in Monaco, followed by Europe in 1923-4. He continued to travel internationally in the 1920’s and 1930’s. He was Banff’s best asset in advertising the village to the world. Byron Harmon was married in 1909 or 1910 to Maud Moore and had three children-Aileen (1912), Lloyd (1914), Don (1917). In 1928 he married Rebecca Pearl Shearer. Byron Harmon died July 10, 1942 at the age of sixty six.

The interior of Harmony Drugs in Banff