By Peter Bregg
PhotoSensitive was formed in 1990 by former Toronto Star photographer Andrew Stawicki and photo editor Peter Robertson. They had an idea to bring together the talent of a group of 15 photographers and harness the power of the camera to achieve social goals, and spur people into action.
That desire has been achieved many times over in PhotoSensitive's journey, with the help of every contributing photographer and many people and organizations who believe in the work. By working exclusively in black and white, the photographers have created images that allow viewers to concentrate on the image rather than be distracted by colour.
The latest project, of more than twenty undertaken in 23 years, is called "Picture Change."
Andrew Stawicki got the idea for the project because people often ask photographers what their best or favourite photo is. His is a photo of a little girl dancing, at the other end of the spectrum is Paul Watson's iconic photo of a dead U.S. soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. Another photo by Doug Ball shows former Conservative Party leader Bob Stanfield clumsily dropping a football during the 1972 election helping solidify the Canadian public's opinion of Stanfield as he campaigned against Pierre Trudeau. Peter Martin's silhouette of Terry Fox during his failed cross-country run for cancer is memorable to those who remember him.
With an invitation to over 100 top Canadian photographers, a collection of the most meaningful photos in each photographer’s portfolio has become a body of work highlighting the way that photography can make a positive change in the world. Photographers have submitted a photo that inspired action among the public, one that helped bring about a change in law or one that simply forced its viewers to re-think their preconceived ideas.
Many of the photographers had a vast library of images from which to choose. Some are photojournalists who have worked on national and international assignments that involved important social change. Picture Change offers the rare chance to look at all of these photos together, this body of work, and feel the collective power.
Launched July 15 by CTV anchor Lisa LaFlamme, the exhibit will travel to a variety of locations in Toronto until November, appearing in space contributed by Oxford properties. The following are dates and locations:
- Royal Bank Plaza, 200 Bay Street (opening outdoors July 16th-August 5th)
- 130 Adelaide Street West (outdoor August 6- August 26)
- 1 Adelaide Street East (outdoor August 26- September 16)
- 3300 Bloor St. West (indoor September 16- September 30)
- 2 Bloor St. West (indoor September 30- October 14)
- 200 Wellington St. West (indoor October 14- October 28)
- 123 Front St. West (indoor October 28- November 11)
Peter Bregg has been an active member of PhotoSensitive since it was founded in 1990. His career includes serving as Maclean’s chief photographer for 17 years and he has received many national and international awards. Bregg currently teaches photojournalism at Ryerson University.
First photo by Roger LeMoyne, second photo by Doug Ball. All photos have been published with permission from PhotoSensitive.