Arthur Edward Cornwell was born on 11 February 1868 in Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, the youngest of three children born to Edmund and Matilda (Burns) Cornwell. When he was young his family moved to Deep Brook, Annapolis County, where his father died intestate in 1890. Arthur then had to take care of his family; his father's estate was divided between him and his mother by 1902. The documents from this time make a clear reference to the fact that he had a dark room under the stairs. On 3 November 1897 he married Esther Cordelia Currell of Centrelea, Annapolis County. He changed his name from Cornwell to Cornwall between the 1901 census and the birth of his daughter, Anne Ruth, in 1905. He and his wife had two other children: Freda May (1899-1908) and Arthur Basil (1912-1998). He was a noted photographer in Hantsport, Nova Scotia. In 1911 Arthur Cornwall went west to try homesteading in Alberta, but returned to Nova Scotia by Christmas of that year. He returned to Alberta in 1915 to do further work but by 1920 had lost his holdings. He spent the remainder of his life in Hantsport, moving to his daughter's home in 1957. He died on 6 March 1958 in Centreville, New Brunswick and was buried in Hantsport, Nova Scotia.