Internationally admired Toronto-based photographer Geoffrey James has been selected as Toronto's first Photo Laureate. The position is the first of its kind in Canada.
“Photography is a powerful way to tell Toronto’s story — to show our city’s diversity, talent and beauty," said Mayor John Tory. "The quality and range of Geoffrey James' work makes him an ideal photo laureate and I look forward to his inspiring work in this role."
James will receive an annual honorarium of $10,000 for a three-year appointment from March 31, 2016 to March 31, 2019. He is expected to commit a portion of his working time to duties as Toronto’s ambassador of visual and photographic culture at events that promote those arts. He will also develop a legacy project, designed in co-operation with City staff, which will be unique to the individual Photo Laureate.
James is recognized internationally as a master of landscape and urban photography. Self-taught, he began making images in the early 1970s. He has exhibited extensively in Canada, the United States and Europe, and in 2012 he received the Governor General's Award for Visual and Media Arts. He is the author, or subject of, more than a dozen books and monographs, and he writes about photography. His more recent works focus on urban and suburban landscapes, and his 2007 book, Toronto, was nominated for a Toronto Book Award.
"This appointment shows that Toronto continues to be a cultural innovator and leader in Canada," said Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the City's Economic Development Committee. "James' work over the next three years will help other cities to picture how this could culturally benefit them too."
James was nominated by a selection committee assembled from Toronto's photography and visual arts community.