Abstract My thesis proposes a new way of understanding one of the most prominent Canadian photographers of the nineteenth and early twentieth century: it considers William James Topley as an aspiring photographic artist. Previous literature has studied him as a commercial photographer and businessman; however, my argument moves away from that characterization and discusses his various connections and interests in the visual arts. The case study looks at photographic reproduction of artworks from Album 29 (Ottawa & Paintings), including Lucius O'Brien's, Sunrise on the Saguenay, Cape Trinity (1880). Furthermore, it compares them to selected photographs from Paysages canadiens, Topley II. The comparison brings to light Topley's connection to the arts and artists the Royal Canadian Academy of Art and The National Gallery of Canada. I argue that Topley used these reproductions of landscape paintings as references for his landscape photographs of the Cape Trinity on the Saguenay River.