Peter Higdon Shows a selection of images

THE INSTITUTION. Ryerson Polytech University is a venerable school located in downtown Toronto. Known for journalism and photography, Ryerson is a popular destination for students. The Mira Godard Study Centre in Ryerson's School of Image Arts provides students with first hand examples of photographic images ranging in age from the 1850s to modern day, created by both famous photographers and talented amateurs.  

THE COLLECTION. This collection could be sub-titled "how to create an exciting image collection on a shoe-string". Narrator Peter Higdon displayed actual images from the centre along with stories about each image, its creator, its importance to the study of photography, and how it came to be in the centre. Those of you who are familiar with the Toronto photography scene will know about the Mira Godard Gallery. Ms. Godard donated a number of excellent images to the centre which now bears her name.

Other images were donated by guest speakers and lecturers who chanced to visit Ryerson to address students and staff and left behind a memento of their work. Other images were "moved" from departments which happened to have them, but were unsure how to best store and use them.

Even students and other staff helped populate the collection by chance purchases and donations, including two remarkable and rare signed platinotypes by Frederick Evans. These images came from a roadside "antique" shop. A member of Ryerson staff stopped on her home from the cottage to check out the dealer's stock and spotted the two images. Suspecting there was something different about them, she bought the images for the price of the picture frames!

THE SHOW. Peter began with an 1850s Calotype in excellent condition. This was followed by images made by well known photographers like Bernice Abbott, Brassai, Francis Frith, David Hill, Andre Kertesz, Eugene Smith, Edward Weston, and many others. Each print was mounted and carefully handled. For many of us, this was our first chance to see first hand and marvel at the quality and workmanship of these photographers.

If you would like more information about the centre, Ryerson, or the images, contact Peter Higdon at RPU, School of Image Arts, Mira Godard Study Centre, 350 Victoria St, Toronto, Ontario M5B 2K3, Canada. 

These images on this page were taken with a Nikon Coolpix 900s digital camera. As many of you are aware, printing and internet technologies do not permit you to see the full dynamic range of tones and colours present in photographic images (this fact is a big part of the value of the collection--it lets photography students see the actual images being studied rather than being limited to viewing printed reproductions).  

If you click on any of the thumbnails at the right, you will bring up a larger version of the photo. Use your browser's back arrow to return to this page.


by Robert Carter











Peter Higdon and 1850 image

We start in 1850...

1850 image

A closer look..

famous photos

Famous photos

careful handling of images

easy does it!

off to Paris

Farm boys go to town.

railway cut

A rail line through the mountain

Rapt Audience

A rapt audience

Ancient Ruins

Can you spot the person?

Famous Steps

Famous Steps

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