Third-year photography students exhibit photobooks at Ryerson Artspace

Cherileigh Co

Lara Onayak

 

Third-year photography students showcased installations of their photo books at the Ryerson Artspace. The exhibit, running now until February 5th, features projects completed in their photo production and photographic book classes. For many students, this will be the first time their work is displayed to the public. Visitors can flip through all of the photo books that range from fashion, documentary, still life and portraiture.

 

Rosanna Le, 21

90s Aesthetic

Rosanna Le at the Ryerson Artspace. Lara Onayak/Ryersonian

What was your inspiration?

Honestly, my sister grew up in the ’90s, and I briefly remember her listening to her music. So I was just inspired by the ’90s and how it’s slowly coming back in society, [such as] polaroid cameras and the style, especially like chokers and all that stuff.

Where did you go to shoot?

I went to OCAD to do one of my shoots and I actually shot one of them at the SLC where they have the stairwells where they have the really colourful walls and a couple more places. Some pictures I actually scanned from where my sister grew up so I incorporate some personal photos and put them in the book as well.

Why do enjoy photography?

I discovered that I really enjoy taking photos at around sixth or seventh grade. My friends would always ask me, “Oh can you take my picture,” and that’s where it all started.

It seems like you focus more on the fashion and what’s coming back from the ’90s. Why did you focus on that type of genre?

Honestly, I’ve had this idea in mind for about a year and half now. I thought long and hard about how I would do it because I was either going to focus on the fashion or the objects that were ’90s. I decided to just put both together and make it into a book.

 

Jehanne-Marie Milne, 21

Milne’s Urban Floral Miscellany

Jehanne-Marie Milne shows off a microscope slide. Lara Onayak/Ryersonian

How did you make your scroll?

The scroll and microscope slides of these leaves [are] inside the box. The box was handmade and designed in the Ryerson wood workshop in the Image Arts Building.  

Were you experienced in woodwork?

No, it was actually my first time. The guy in the woodwork shop would use the heavy machinery, but I basically had to design everything, measure everything, make everything. It was a really good learning curve for me. I think that’s the best part of the experience for me.

Why did you choose to make a scroll?

First of all, I’m sick of traditional work. I really appreciate and respect it and can see my work that way. But, I was trying to think how can I push the envelope a bit and my project had a bit to do with the journey. A scroll is kind of like a linear journey, continuous. It’s not interrupted by [the] turning of pages.

What inspired your project?

I’m from Trinidad and Tobago which is very green and forested, and moving to Canada which is very grey, was really hard for me to come to terms with. There’s not a lot of greenery here, at least in the city. I basically documented photographs kind of how the city interacts with green spaces and in some photos there’s a lot of greenery, and other photos it’s just dying plants and a lot of urban landscape.

Would you say that this box is like a little piece of home?

I think it was more of a way for me to come to terms of articulate and explore what I’m missing or rather what I’m experiencing here. [It was] kind of a way for me to go out and see what Toronto is trying to do to implement green spaces downtown.

 

Warren Rynkun, 21

The Yard

Warren Rynkun displays his work for the first time. Lara Onayak/Ryersonian

What was your inspiration for the art?

I work at a car dealership and I wanted to explore kind of the end of a car’s life. I work around the beginning of a car’s life. So my inspiration was pulling from the beginning and then going to explore the end like where they die or where they rest.

Why did you focus on the documentary genre?

It’s something I found interest in for the past three years at Ryerson. I just really wanted to explore a little bit more and kind of put myself out there and just kind of see what that kind of areas offer because I’ve never really gone to the junkyard ever.

How does it feel to have your work shown in a gallery for the first time?

Pretty crazy. Seeing people hold onto something you’ve babied for a while [is] very rewarding I have to say.

It’s definitely different because we’re allowed to touch and go through it.

Yeah, it’s not something that’s stuck on my screen. With a lot of my work, it only exists online, so it’s physical. It’s really nice to just see people interact or smile, see them point out to whoever they’re with like, “Oh my gosh did you see that?!”

 

Aliya Gollom, 20

My Room

My Room is a coming-of-age photo book shot entirely in black-and-white. Lara Onayak/Ryersonian

How does it feel having this piece being shown?

It feels really good. I like having my work on display. It makes it feel finished and complete. You just feel more proud when other people are looking at it.

What was your inspiration for your book?

So my book is about my room, kind of coming-of-age, growing up learning how to be comfortable within your own skin, within your body, within your sexuality. It’s all about finding that safety you always have in your room and by the end of the book, it’s a shot of me kind of standing near the window of my room and it’s kind of a farewell. One day—hopefully soon—I’m going to leave that space and enter the world, but still hopefully take that feeling of safety with me where I go.

Is this is your childhood room?

Yes, and I still live at home. I’m from Toronto so I never left. It’s kind of telling the story of where I am now and where I’m going.

Why did you choose to shoot in all black-and-white?

I chose black-and-white because this was such a vulnerable project for me. There’s elements for me that I’m showing of my room and things in my room that are very private. It was almost a way of protecting myself. Colour [show] the full truths and my opinion, and then black-and-white was a way that I could kind of protect myself from all of the details. It’s also focusing on the content rather than the colour of the shots.

Why do you enjoy photography and this program?
I really believe that as artists, in this day and age, we have a responsibility to document the time, what’s important and what needs to change. I find that in this program we have a really solid mix of exploring conceptual meanings and themes that’ll allow us to figure out what form of photography and expression best represents our work and our thoughts. That’s why I love this program, because it allows everyone to kind of explore what’s right for them.

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