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Ben Williams Leeson was born in Coventry, Warwickshire, UK, in 1866 and emigrated to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1886 with his parents, Anna and Jobe L. Leeson. He began taking photographs in the Cariboo in 1887 and moved to Quatsino Sound in about 1894 where he and his father managed the salmon and clam cannery located on the opposite shore, as well as a store (J. L. Leeson & Son) selling clothes and provisions. Ben Leeson is particularly noted for his portraits of First Nations people and was fascinated by "flat-headed" Kwakiutl women.
According to the British Columbia Archives, Ben William Leeson married Evelyn May Hawkins on February 15, 1912 in Quatsino. In 1939 Leeson retired and moved to Vancouver. He died March 15, 1948.