Since 1839… Book Launch Conversation

Anonymous photographer, Lightning-Resistance Test of a Car, 1960. Gelatin silver print, 19.2 x 24 cm. Private collection, Paris.

Since 1839… Book Launch Conversation

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC)
Online via Zoom
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
7 pm EDT

Since 1839…Eleven Essays on Photography presents a selection of texts by renowned photography historian Dr. Clément Chéroux. These seminal writings, newly translated into English and published together in one volume for the first time, address a variety of topics, from the history of vernacular photography to the influence of documentary photography on Surrealism. Join Dr. Thierry Gervais, the RIC’s head of research, for a conversation with Dr. Chéroux about this latest release of the scholarly imprint co-published by the Ryerson Image Centre and MIT Press. Together, they will discuss the unique case studies and untold stories of photography illuminated in the pages of Dr. Chéroux’s engaging book. Following their discourse, the two scholars will engage the public in the conversation, taking questions from our online audience. Register now.

Dr. Clément Chéroux was appointed as Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz chief curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York in 2020. He is a photography historian with a PhD in art history from University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne. His past positions include chief curator of photography at the Centre Pompidou, Paris and senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. From 1996 to 2013, he held key positions for the publication Études photographiques. He has curated more than 30 exhibitions and authored or edited more than 40 books and catalogues about photography and its histories.

Dr. Thierry Gervais is an associate professor at Toronto Metropolitan University and head of research at the Ryerson Image Centre. He was the editor-in-chief of Études photographiques from 2007 to 2013 and is the author of numerous articles on photojournalism in peer-reviewed journals and scholarly publications. He has organized several symposia at the RIC, where he launched the RIC Books series in 2016, in partnership with MIT Press. His current research focuses on retouched press photographs.

Images (left to right): Clément Chéroux, The Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz Chief Curator of Photography © The Museum of Modern Art. Since 1839… Eleven Essays on Photography (front cover). Co-published by Ryerson Image Centre and the MIT Press, 2021.


Please visit our website at for the most current visitor information.

From Here to Eternity. Sunil Gupta, A Retrospective
April 6–August 6, 2022

This exhibition offers a complex and layered view of artist Sunil Gupta’s unique transcontinental photographic vision. From Here to Eternity brings together a comprehensive selection of works from the innovative career of this pioneering community artist. From his participation in New York’s radical Gay Liberation Movement in the 1970s to his more recent campaigning in India, Gupta has inspired generations of photographers, artist/activists, and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights.

Mauvais Genre/Under Cover: A Secret History of Cross-Dressers
April 6–August 6, 2022

Comprising over 160 amateur photographs, this exhibition explores a range of practices relating to cross-dressing from the 1880s to the 1980s. It is drawn from the extensive personal archives of French filmmaker and photography collector Sébastien Lifshitz. The selection includes images of spectacular cross-dressers and glamorous drag queens, but also individuals whose transgressive actions are much more discreet and domestic. Taken by mostly unknown photographers, the prints are of unnamed and unknown figures posing for the camera, using the apparel and gestures traditionally assigned to the “opposite sex.” They have been collected from flea markets, garage sales, junk shops and eBay and were taken in Europe and the United States.

The exhibition offers a candid look into the hidden worlds of individuals and groups that have chosen to defy gender conventions and explore a range of identities and presentations that diverge from what society has restrictively prescribed.

Dominique Blain: Dérive/Drift
April 6–August 6, 2022

Sensitive, powerful, and supremely delicate, Dominique Blain’s Drift is comprised of hundreds of press and amateur images of the sea. Found on the internet and compiled in careful layers, these images gently lift like sails in the breeze to reveal scenes of fragile, makeshift boats floating on perilous waters. This multi-channel video commemorates the countless migrants who flee situations of war, poverty, and violence, sailing in search of freedom.

Chris Donovan: The Cloud Factory
May 18–June 18

Against a backdrop of billowing clouds of smoke, the environmental class system of Saint John, New Brunswick comes into hazy focus in Chris Donovan’s The Cloud Factory. A long-term photographic project, The Cloud Factory stems from Donovan’s frustrations over the lack of critical reporting around the fossil fuel industry in a city that is home to Canada’s largest oil refinery. With his poignant images, the artist calls attention to the issues generated by the industrialization of his hometown, revealing the families affected by industrial contamination and the socio-economic structures of a monopolized economy.


Since 1839… Book Launch: Clément Chéroux
Tuesday, May 31, 7 pm EDT

Curator Talk: Sébastien Lifshitz
Wednesday, June 8, 12 pm EDT

Artist and Curator in Conversation: Sunil Gupta and Mark Sealy
Wednesday, June 22, 12 pm EDT

Please visit for full details.

Ryerson Image Centre
33 Gould Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Monday: Closed
Tuesday: Tours by appointment
Wednesday: 12–6 pm
Thursday: 12–6 pm
Friday: 12–6 pm
Saturday: 12–6 pm
Sunday: Closed
Follow us @RICgallery

Media Contact
Feven Tesfamariam, Ryerson Image Centre, / T+416 560 5306