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A Reflection From Maureen Ariza on the Cycle 13 Photography Class Field Trip

A Reflection From Maureen Ariza on the Cycle 13 Photography Class Field Trip

 

A Reflection by Maureen Ariza

On a foggy, windy and somewhat grey October Sunday, the Cycle 13 Photography class and I went on an excursion around town to explore local talent and pick up a bit of creative inspiration on the way. Our first stop was the Ryerson Image Centre, where we were graciously welcomed to their most recent photography exhibition: a comprehensive display of how Canadian life and culture was portrayed to the American media, spanning from the early 1900s to the late 1980s. The photographs covered every possible topic from the most mundane to the most insane. It was interesting to see how photography as a medium helped shaped the image (pun intended) that our brothers to the South have of us in Canada: a nation of peace, Trudeaumania, cold weather and not surprisingly, hockey. Having said that, the portrayals were not comprehensive enough as these photographs overlooked one of the key aspects that makes Canada so special: its multicultural and diverse character. Nonetheless, it was a fascinating insight into the use of journalistic and documentary photography as an informative, but biased tool to depict Canada to the American masses. Having had our fill of American documentary photography, we continued gallery hopping to a number of smaller galleries located in front of the AGO, all who were eager to display the works of Canadian photographers. It was refreshing to be able to see a small but interesting display of local talent. The images included underwater displays, portraits and abstract-looking street photography; each work unique and capable of evoking a response from the admirer. Perhaps what was most interesting were the price tags attached to each work– a much more mundane source of motivation. Nonetheless, the Cycle 13 Photography class and I left these galleries and displays with a broadened understanding of Canadian portrayals abroad, as well as the current landscape in Canadian photography. We left with an air of inspiration to create and to keep using photography to tell our stories.