Gallery-goers take in third-year photography work
A photo of an animal skull, a portrait of a naked woman, and a half sketch/half-photograph of an older man are among the images on display at Temporal Forms, an exhibition, showcasing the work of 41 third-year photography students in Ryerson’s Image Arts program.
Each student has one photo on display, a selection from a series of eight to -15 images each produced for their production course. Aided by instructors Don Snyder and Katy McCormick, the third-years organized both the exhibit and its opening reception at Ryerson’s I.M.A. Gallery, held last Thursday.
“They basically produced the whole thing,” says I.M.A. Gallery employee Zinnia Naqvi. “They’ve curated it, organized it, done everything.”
The show is loosely themed around humans, but the students’ approaches to the subject couldn’t be more different.
Student Natasha Johnston sought inspiration close to home.
“My sister came out recently, and I saw her struggling with the issue of having to talk about her sexuality,” Johnston says.
Johnston says seeing her sister and others deal with the coming-out process made her think about how LGBT people, especially those who could “pass” for straight, have to announce their sexuality in a way straight people don’t. Her piece, “Human Sexuality,” is a collage of passport-style photos of people centering on the words “Sexuality is not an… ‘Identity.’”
Kirsti Langen’s work was also influenced by her family. She photographed members of her grandparent’s Markham church congregation, and titled each photo with the member’s name and the date they joined the church. With church attendance down and congregations aging, “that sort of community built around the church isn’t really there anymore. But it’s still a really great community.”
Meanwhile, fellow photography student Liam Coo looked to ancient myths to inform his work. “I’m fascinated with Greek mythology,” he says. True to his word, his photo is titled “Zeus,” and shows a young woman slumped against a man in the backseat of a car.
Meaghan Foley was inspired by more recent events – the Occupy movement. “I found when Occupy first came around, I didn’t really understand it,” she says. “But they kept showing these people on the news.” So Foley took it upon herself to find answers. She interviewed members of the movement and took their portraits. “I wanted to find out who they were, what their reason for being there was, and give a face and identity to people involved.”
The exhibition marks Foley’s first time displaying her work and she describes the experience as exciting. She hopes it will bring exposure to her and the Occupiers she interviewed. “I want to continue this project, maybe by interviewing Occupiers in other cities.”
Many of Foley’s fellow students also hope the exhibit will bring industry attention to their work. However, that isn’t Coo’s priority. “I’m not really thinking about exposure. My mind’s totally focused on school right now,” he says. Even if an opportunity were to come from this, he says, he wouldn’t have the time to pursue it.
Temporal Forms is on display at the I.M.A. Gallery at 80 Spadina Ave. until March 10. The gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m.