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2022 Events at the IMC


Date + Time



Winter 2022

Tanenbaum Lecture: Vince Aletti

“The best fashion magazines are eye-opening collections of smart, avant-garde photography and art. I wanted to open more eyes.”  – Vince Aletti

For decades, renowned author and photo critic Vince Aletti has accumulated one of the largest private collections of fashion magazines in North America. Join The Image Centre (formerly Ryerson Image Centre) Director Paul Roth and Aletti in conversation as they discuss his most recent publication, Issues (Phaidon, 2019), which features select seminal issues from his archive. He will speak about the history of photography within this medium, explore the intersection of art and commerce, and describe how photographers from outside of the fashion world influenced the magazines they appeared in. 

Vince Aletti is a writer, curator, collector and critic whose work can be found in Aperture, Art + Auction, Photograph, Artforum and Vogue Italia. Formerly a music critic for Rolling Stone, Aletti went on to be the art editor of the Village Voice from 1994–2005 and the paper’s photo critic for twenty years, after which reviewed photography exhibitions for The New Yorker. He has published extensively on the impact of fashion magazines on the history of photography, and won the International Center of Photography’s prestigious Infinity Award for writing in 2005. His most recent book is Issues: A History of Photography in Fashion Magazines (Phaidon, 2019). 

March 2
7 pm ET


Online via Zoom 


Spring/Summer 2022

Artist Talk: Chris Donovan

Join documentary photographer Chris Donovan and The Image Centre (formerly Ryerson Image Centre) Director Paul Roth, as they discuss his series The Cloud Factory, on view May18–June 18, 2022 in The Image Centre’s Student Gallery.

Named Canadian Photojournalist of the Year for 2017 and 2018, Donovan has focused his work on the wealth divide and the dynamic between industry and communities. The Cloud Factory lays bare the impact of an oil company and its control over the Saint John community, where the child poverty rate is almost double the national average. Donovan intimately photographs working class families and their homes, juxtaposed against the industrial landscape and pollution that surrounds them. With his genuine and humanistic approach, he earns the trust to tell their stories and, by extension, the hidden story of a place where environmental classism runs rampant.

Chris Donovan is a documentary photographer based between Toronto and New Brunswick. Hailing from the city of Saint John, his practice focuses on the intersection of community and industry. The Cloud Factory, in the making for ten years, is his graduating thesis exhibition for his MFA in the Documentary Media Program at Toronto Metropolitan University.

His work has been awarded the Scotiabank New Generation Photography Award, and was featured in a group exhibition produced in partnership with The Image Centre and the National Gallery of Canada in 2021. He has also been awarded a coveted World Press Photo Award, the Environmental Vision Award (University of Missouri), and the Ian Parry Scholarship, and most recently, TMU’s Student Gallery Production Award – In memory of George Fleischmann. Donovan’s photographs have appeared in group shows in more than 40 countries and across Canada, including at the National Gallery of Canada.

May 18
12 pm

Artist Talk

Online via Zoom
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Since 1839... Book Launch: Clément Chéroux

Since 1839...Eleven Essays on Photography presents a selection of texts by renowned photography historian Dr. Clément Chéroux. These seminal writings, newly translated into English and published together in one volume for the first time, address a variety of topics, from the history of vernacular photography to the influence of documentary photography on Surrealism. Join Dr. Thierry Gervais, the The Image Centre’s (formerly Ryerson Image Centre) head of research, for a conversation with Dr. Chéroux about this latest release of the scholarly imprint co-published by The Image Centre and MIT Press. Together, they will discuss the unique case studies and untold stories of photography illuminated in the pages of Dr. Chéroux’s engaging book. Following their discourse, the two scholars will engage the public in the conversation, taking questions from our online audience.

About the Author

Dr. Clément Chéroux
was appointed as Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz chief curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York in 2020. He is a photography historian with a PhD in art history from University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne. His past positions include chief curator of photography at the Centre Pompidou, Paris and senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. From 1996 to 2013, he held key positions for the publication Études photographiques. He has curated more than 30 exhibitions and authored or edited more than 40 books and catalogues about photography and its histories.

About the Editor

Dr. Thierry Gervais is associate professor at Toronto Metropolitan University and head of research at The Image Centre (formerly Ryerson Image Centre). He was the editor-in-chief of Études photographiques from 2007 to 2013 and is the author of numerous articles on photojournalism in peer-reviewed journals and
scholarly publications. He has organized several symposia at The Image Centre, where he launched The Image Centre Books series in 2016, in partnership with MIT Press. His current research focuses on retouched press photographs.

May 31
7 pm

RIC Book Launch

Online via Zoom
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Curators in Conversation: Sébastien Lifshitz and Gaëlle Morel

French guest curator, filmmaker and collector Sébastien Lifshitz, has amassed a treasure trove of enigmatic images over the past 30 years, a selection of which are now on view in his exhibition Mauvais Genre/Under Cover: A Secret History of Cross-Dressers at The Image Centre (formerly Ryerson Image Centre). Join Lifshitz and The Image Centre Exhibitions Curator, Gaëlle Morel, as they discuss his collection and the ongoing exhibition, on view through August 6. 

Lifshitz began his photography collection as a teenager, rummaging through Parisian flea markets on the weekends for lost pictures forsaken by others, particularly those of anonymous subjects participating in the act of cross-dressing. Feeling a sense of intrigue and personal connection to the secretive, marginalized lives of those portrayed, Lifshitz began an active pursuit to expand upon this collection. Sourcing images from flea markets, garage sales, junk shops and eBay, from across the United States and Europe, the filmmaker was able to uncover the hidden practice of cross-dressing through the ages, dating back from the 1880s–1980s. 

Mauvais Genre/Under Cover offers a a fascinating historical precedent to today’s diverse queer and trans spectrum, and looks toward a future where self-representation and freedom of choice are not just celebrated, but actively encouraged.

About the Curator

After studying art history, Sébastien Lifshitz began working in the world of contemporary art in 1990, assisting curator Bernard Blistène at the Centre Georges-Pompidou, and French photographer Suzanne Lafont. In 1994, he turned to filmmaking and is known for titles such as Wild Side, Little Girl and Adolescents. Since then, his critically acclaimed films have been featured in numerous international festivals, including Cannes and Clermont-Ferrand (France), winning awards like the Prix Jean Vigo, the Kodak Award for Best Short Film, the Berlin Film Festival’s Teddy Award and the Queer Palm. Mauvais Genre is the first exhibition curated by Lifshitz and is accompanied by a book of the same name, published by French publisher Textuel (2016).

June 8, 2022
12 pm

Curator Talk

Online via Zoom
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Artist and Curator in Conversation: Sunil Gupta and Mark Sealy

Join pioneering community artist Sunil Gupta and Director of Autograph (UK) Dr. Mark Sealy, OBE, as they discuss From Here to Eternity. Sunil Gupta, A Retrospective, on view through August 6 at The Image Centre (formerly Ryerson Image Centre).

Gupta and Sealy will discuss their collaboration as artist and curator to organize and contextualize Gupta’s long and influential career in photography. The artist’s autobiographical narratives capture his experiences as a gay man of colour living in Canada, the U.S., England, and his birthplace, India. Gupta and Sealy will reveal insights into the selection of works on display, spanning the 1970s to 2010s, and audience members will be invited to think critically about the relationship between identity, representation, community, sexuality, and freedoms.

Gupta and Sealy will also review their award winning photography book From Here to Eternity (Autograph, 2020), which accompanies the exhibition. Longtime colleagues, the two have been in dialogue for 30 years as key innovators in the rich photography community of the United Kingdom.

About the Artist

Sunil Gupta (b. 1953, India/Canada/UK) was educated at the Royal College of Art, London, England, and received a PhD from the University of Westminster, England. Gupta’s work uses independent photography as a critical practice, focusing on race, migration, and queer issues.

His recent show (with Charan Singh), Dissent and Desire, was presented at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India (2018) and his project Christopher Street 1976, published in 2018 (Stanley Barker) was presented at Hales Gallery in New York (2019). His work has been exhibited in various group exhibitions, including at the Pompidou Centre, France (2011) and The Place is Here (Nottingham Contemporary, England, 2017).

Gupta is a Visiting Tutor at the Royal College of Art and was Lead Curator for the 2018 Fotofest in Houston, USA. His work can be found in many private and public collections, including Tate Modern and Tate Britain (London, England), George Eastman Museum (Rochester, USA), the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (Japan), the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, Canada), and the Museum of Modern Art (New York, USA).


About the Curator

Dr Mark Sealy OBE is Executive Director of Autograph and Professor, Photography, Rights and Representation at University Arts London - London College of Communication, also affiliated to the Photography Archive and Research Centre.

Sealy is interested in the relationship between art, photography and social change, identity, politics, race, and human rights. He has written for many of the world’s leading photographic journals, produced numerous artist publications, curated exhibitions, and commissioned photographers and filmmakers worldwide.

Lawrence and Wishart have published Sealy’s more recent critical writings on photography. These titles include Photography: Race, Rights and Representation (2022) and Decolonising the Camera: Photography in Racial Time (2019).

June 22, 2022
12 pm

Artist Talk

Online via Zoom
Register now

Fall 2022

CANADA NOW Artists in Conversation: Rebecca Bair and Séamus Gallagher

The Image Centre hosts a four-part series of artist talks featuring conversations between the multi-disciplinary image makers presented in CANADA NOW: New Photography Acquisitions, on view through December 3, 2022.

In dialogue with exhibition curator Denise Birkhofer, Rebecca Bair and Séamus Gallagher discuss parallel aspects of their works, which share a focus on the performance of self in their images, and as a starting point for themes explored in their work. The pair were each commissioned to create works for The Image Centre collection, purchased through the Canada Now Photography Acquisition Initiative. 

Artist Bios

Rebecca Bair is an interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver, the traditional and ancestral territories of the Coast Salish peoples. Her research explores the possibilities of representation and identity through abstraction and non-figuration. Bair uses multimedia approaches and Sun collaborations to illustrate her exploration of identity and intersectionality, through the lens of her own experience as a Black Woman on Turtle Island. Her artistic, professional, and educational goals aim to celebrate Black plurality, as well as enable interpersonal and intercultural care. Her work acts as a vehicle through which the complexities of history and identity can be uncovered, redefined, and expressed.

Séamus Gallagher is a non-binary photo and new media artist currently based in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia). They graduated from NSCAD University with a double major in Photography and Expanded Media (BFA 2019). Their work has shown in festivals/exhibitions across Canada, as well as in Germany, England, Switzerland and Los Angeles. They are the recipient of the 2017 AGO | AIMIA Photography Scholarship, the 2018 NSCAD Student Awards, and the 2019 BMO 1st Art! Awards. They were also recently longlisted for the 2019 and 2021 Scotiabank New Generation Photography Awards. Since 2019, Gallagher has worked in partnership with IOTA Institute.

September 21, 2022
7 pm

Artist Talk

Live Premiere

CANADA NOW Artists in Conversation: Morris Lum and Kablusiak

This is the second instalment in The Image Centre's four-part series of artist talks featuring conversations between the multi-disciplinary image makers presented in CANADA NOW: New Photography Acquisitions, on view through December 3, 2022. 

In dialogue with exhibition curator Denise Birkhofer, Morris Lum and Kablusiak discuss parallel aspects of their works. With reference to their respective series Tong Yan Gaai (Chinatown) and akunnirun kuupak, Lum and Kablusiak explore notions of diaspora and how ones identity can be irrevocably and intrinsically tied to a particular place. 

Artist Bios

Kablusiak is an Inuvialuk who creates art in a variety of mediums including, but not limited to, lingerie, soapstone, Sharpie, bed sheets, felt, and words. Their work explores the dis/connections between existence in Inuit diaspora while maintaining family and community ties, the impacts of colonization on Inuit gender and sexuality expressions, as well as on health, wellbeing, and the everyday. Kablusiak holds a BFA from AUArts in Mohkinstsis, where they are currently based. Their work can be found in the collections of the Indigenous Art Centre, the Art Gallery of Alberta, and Global Affairs Visual Art Collection among others.

Morris Lum is a Toronto-based Trinidadian-born photographer/artist whose work explores the hybrid nature of the Chinese-Canadian community through photography, form, and documentary practices. His work also examines the ways in which Chinese history is represented in the media and archival material. Lum’s work has been exhibited and screened across Canada and the United States.

October 19, 2022
7 pm ET

Artist Talk

Online via YouTube Premiere
Watch Link

Artist and Curator in Conversation: Deanna Bowen and Crystal Mowry - CANCELED 

We regret to report that the artist has withdrawn from participation in this event, and it has been canceled. 


Artist Talk

Online via Zoom

CANADA NOW Artists in Conversation: Alyssa Bistonath and Zachary Ayotte

This is the third instalment in The Image Centre's four-part series of artist talks featuring conversations between the multi-disciplinary image makers presented in CANADA NOW: New Photography Acquisitions, on view through December 3, 2022.

In dialogue with exhibition curator Denise Birkhofer, Alyssa Bistonath and Zachary Ayotte discuss parallel aspects of their works. While Ayotte strives to understand how we sink into our perceptions in the re-photographed and distorted images of Western U.S.A, in their series Wish U Were Here, Bistonath documents their own unique perceptions of a life removed from loved ones during the pandemic in Toronto, Canada, in their series Isolation Photographs. With reference to their respective series, the artists reflect on the visual diaries that chronicle their personal experiences of a particular time and place. 

Artist Bios

Alyssa Bistonath is a photographer and filmmaker based in Toronto. The daughter of Guyanese immigrants, she focuses on themes of memory and belonging by investigating intimacy, evidence, and the archive. Most recently, she was featured in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s “Art in the Spotlight” and Canadian Art online for her series Isolation Photographs. The series is on display at the AGO in the exhibition I AM HERE: Home Movies and Everyday Masterpieces through August 14, 2022.

Zachary Ayotte is a visual artist based in Edmonton working primarily with photography and installation. With light and form, he uses depictions of bodies and space to explore gender and sexual identity, power, distance and experiences of the unknown. A sense of otherworldliness hovers over his work. Interested in the relation that intimacy and familiarity have to disconnection and uncertainty, Ayotte allows the forces in his work to elide and collide, generating tension. This process allows him to embrace and comment on the superficiality of the photographic image, exploring it as both a manipulation of light and a mode of delivering information

November 9, 2022
7 pm ET

Artist Talk

Online via YouTube Premiere
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Special Tour: Scotiabank Photography Award: Deanna Bowen. Black Drones in the Hive

Join art historian Gabrielle Moser for an eye-opening tour of Black Drones in the Hive, the meticulously arranged, interdisciplinary exhibition celebrating the interventionist and visual practice of artist Deanna Bowen, winner of the 2021 Scotiabank Photography Award.

Originally produced by Bowen under a commission from the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (KWAG), Black Drones in the Hive draws its title from an historic, bigoted insult aimed at a local Black journeyman, William Robinson, by a city official in Berlin, Ontario (now Kitchener) in the 1870s. Drawing materials from the KWAG’s permanent collection as well as local and international archives, Bowen clusters historic documents, illustrations and publications in a series of thematic constellations, weaving together narrative threads of migration, racist dispossession, entrenched power networks, and hierarchies of remembrance.


Gabrielle Moser is an art historian, writer, and independent curator. She is the author of Projecting Citizenship: Photography and Belonging in the British Empire (Penn State University Press, 2019). A founding member of EMILIA-AMALIA, she is an Assistant Professor of Aesthetics and Art Education in the Faculty of Education at York University in Toronto, Canada.

November 16, 2022
6:30 pm

Exhibition Tour

Main Gallery (IMC)
Register via Eventbrite

CANADA NOW Artists in Conversation: JJ Levine and Kali Spitzer

This is the final instalment in The Image Centre's four-part series of artist talks featuring conversations between the multi-disciplinary image makers presented in CANADA NOW: New Photography Acquisitions, on view through December 3, 2022.

In dialogue with exhibition curator Denise Birkhofer, JJ Levine and Kali Spitzer discuss parallel aspects of their works. The artists discuss their shared mission of community representation, a central theme in both Levine's Queer Portraits series and Spitzer's An Exploration of Resilience series. While Levine sets out to contribute to visual representations of alternative, queer, and trans family structures with their staged portraits of friends, lovers and siblings in the LGBTQ+ community; Spitzer endeavours to tell the story of her own community, capturing images of primarily BIPOC, queer, femme, trans and gender non-confirming kin to challenge pre-conceived notions of race, gender and sexuality. 

Artist Bios

JJ Levine is an image-based artist living in Tiohti:áke/Montreal, known for his compelling body of work in portraiture. Represented by ELLEPHANT (Montreal), Levine’s artwork has been exhibited at museums and galleries internationally. A major retrospective of his work, JJ Levine: Queer Photographs, is currently on view at the McCord Museum (Montreal). His images have been featured in such publications as Photography and Culture, CV Photo, Esse, Slate, The Guardian Observer, and Society. Levine holds an MFA in Photography from Concordia University. In 2015, he self-published two artist books: Queer Portraits: 2006-2015 and Switch. Levine’s art practice balances a queer ethos with a strong formal aesthetic.

Kali Spitzer
Vancouver-based artist Kali Spitzer’s work embraces the stories of contemporary BIPOC, Queer, and trans bodies, creating representation that is self-determined. Spitzer’s collaborative process is informed by the desire to rewrite the visual histories of indigenous bodies beyond a colonial lens. Kaska Dena from Daylu (Lower Post, British Columbia) on her father’s side and Jewish from Transylvania, Romania, on her mother’s side, Spitzer’s heritage deeply influences her work as she focuses on cultural revitalization through her art. Her work has been featured in international exhibitions including Women: A Century of Change at the National Geographic Museum, and Larger than Memory: Contemporary Art From Indigenous North America at the Heard Museum.

November 30, 2022
7 pm ET

Artist Talk

Online via YouTube Premiere
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