The Ryerson Imaging Centre (RIC) is an institution for research, teaching and exhibition of photography located in the heart of downtown Toronto that surprisingly few people know about. Many of the rotating exhibits are sourced from the massive collection of over 80 years of historical photos donated by the Black Star Photo Agency in New York. Earlier this year, RIC received another donation of 25,000 photos from the Canadian collection of the New York Times, which will make for even better exhibitions in the future. Admission is free and an excellent curator tour is given daily at 2:30pm. I find the tours essential to understanding the nature or history behind the photographs on display, the process used to create them and the message that the photographer is trying to convey.
—that the traditional roles of a woman (wife, mother, fellow breadwinner) makes her feel like she is being pulled in all different directions. Lake indicates that the works raise the question of "who pulls the strings?". She began by posing for photos while simulating the motions of a puppet with her body. To further clarify her intention, after developing the photos, she added actual lengths of white string to the images to represent the puppet strings. Taking it one step further, she built an apparatus that allowed her harnessed body to be manipulated like a puppet, engaging two helpers to randomly pull her arms and legs while a third assistant snapped photos of the process. In 2014, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) held a Suzy Lake exhibition where they actually displayed this contraption.
When we made our first pass through the Suzy Lake exhibit prior to taking the tour, I found her portfolio interesting, but did not really understand what she was attempting to achieve or convey with each series. After taking the very informative tour, I now appreciate even more Lake's sense of experimentation and creativity in pushing the boundaries of photography to create her works.