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Henry Kalen was born January 20, 1928 in Winnipeg. He received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Manitoba in 1957 and began acquiring a reputation as a photographer working for several prominent architecture firms in Winnipeg. In 1960, he became a lecturer at the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Architecture and taught classes in photography. By 1970, Kalen's photographs had won several awards, been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and published in several books. As a commercial and architectural photographer, Kalen contributed to several magazines including Maclean's, enRoute, Reader's Digest, The Winnipeg Tribune, Western Living, and Chatelaine. He also ran a stock photography business, Henry Kalen Ltd., and won several awards for his postcards.
A book featuring Henry Kalen's photographs, Henry Kalen's Winnipeg, was published in 2000 and remained on best-seller lists for years. Another book, Henry Kalen's Manitoba, was published posthumously in 2008. Henry Kalen died in 2004.