Issue #187  1/4/2012
Toronto Photography Symposium Tackles Tough Issues Surrounding Collecting

An important upcoming symposium entitled "About Photographic Collections: Definitions, Descriptions, Access," will take place January19-21, 2012 at the Ryerson Image Centre, Ryerson University, George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre, 3rd Floor Atrium, 245 Church Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Ryerson Image Centre is co-presenting this event with the Bibliothèque Clémentine in Paris. This symposium is made possible by The Howard and Carole Tanenbaum Family Charitable Foundation and the Consulat Général de France à Toronto.

Photographic collections and photographic objects are questioning and challenging curators, collectors and photographic dealers in their daily work.

Art historians have long been faced with having to identify the hand of the master painter or sculptor among those of his/her students; in the same regard, photographic historians are now working with portraits from Nadar's studio and images by Man Ray printed long after his death. This issue of authorship raises the question of object/image-dating.

Photography questions the idea of the original, which is very important to the process of collecting: should one collect negatives or prints? Which prints should be collected? In the last two decades, questions related to this multifaceted aspect of the photographic object have generated extensive research about the appropriate vocabulary used to describe photographs: a vocabulary that would evade photographic ubiquities and which would facilitate knowledge exchanges; a vocabulary that would precisely describe photographic objects and would aid curators and collectors with their collections; a vocabulary that would better facilitate access to the general public, not only to the image but also to the picture: the original print.

The symposium aims to highlight the multifaceted nature of the photographic object and the necessity to define a precise photographic vocabulary. Curators, collectors, conservators, photographic dealers and scholars will present lectures and will take part in panel discussions.

A publication gathering important definitions is planned as a follow-up to the symposium.

There is no cost to the program, but due to very limited seating, if you wish to attend the conference, you must register online at http://aboutphotographiccollections.eventbrite.com . Currently registrants are being wait-listed. If you have any questions, email Chantal Wilson at chantal.wilson@ryerson.ca .