Friday, October 06, 2006

We Went on a Field Trip


To answer your first question, no, we didn't have to hold hands, I asked.

We went to BCE Place (To answer your next question, no I don't know what the "BCE" stand for, I didn't ask.) to see the World Press Photo exhibit in the Allen Lambert (A Canadian banker and former chair of the Toronto-Dominion Bank, I looked it up at Wikipedia) Galleria. The Allen Lambert Galleria is an amazing work of architecture (never mind what I said about Toronto architecture before, that was then and this is now), the roof of the galleria soars overhead on metal supports that mimic a forest canopy, it is a beautiful place to see artwork. It was designed, I know you want to know this, by Santiago Calatrava. When I was in Toronto over the summer, the PhotoSensitive's "Aids: Picture Change" project was displayed here during the World Aids Conference. You remember that conference, don't you? Stephen Harper doesn't.

A guy named Finbarr O'Reilly won the World Press Photo contest this year. He is a Canadian photographer working in Western Africa for Reuters, who took an amazing photo of a woman and her small child at an emergency feeding centre run by Doctors Without Borders in Niger. The collection of photos was amazing: from the disasters of 2005, the tsunami, the Pakistani earthquake, and Katrina; a documentary of Fashion Week in New York; a documentary of World War Two veterans from both sides; Iraq (it's odd that it needs no further qualification); and even sports coverage.

After viewing the exhibit we went to Ryerson University to hear a lecture by Finbarr O'Reilly. What he related was inspiring for those of us who may be second guessing why we've chosen photojournalism. Besides relating the story of poor quality coverage of Africa in Western media, he also told us about his philosophy of picture taking. He said he wants to show the dignity and strength of African people who live in deplorable conditions, not just more pictures of Africans who are victimized by deplorable conditions. He did point out, though that media in North America prefer the pictures of victimization. He also pointed out 1500 people a day die because of the ongoing war in Congo and pointed out in the 34 day Israeli/Lebanon war 1500 people died in total, including combatants.

It was a very good day, topped off with an inspiring lecture. I am so glad I'm here. (Yeah, yeah, yeah I still miss all of you, relax.)
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