Canada’s First Ever Photo Laureate

Toronto’s Photo Laureate exhibits work and attends events across the city to promote and support what is one of the most thriving photographic art scenes in the world. The Photo Laureate is Toronto’s ambassador for the visual and photographic arts. The position is the first of its kind in Canada.

Geoffrey James Named Toronto’s First Photo Laureate

Internationally admired Toronto-based photographer Geoffrey James has been selected as Toronto’s first Photo Laureate. James is recognized internationally as a master of landscape and urban photography. Self-taught, he began making images in the early 1970s. He has exhibited extensively in Canada, the United States and Europe, and in 2012 he received the Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts. He is the author, or subject of, more than a dozen books and monographs, and he writes about photography. His more recent works focus on urban and suburban landscapes, and his 2007 book, Toronto, was nominated for a Toronto Book Award.

Geoffrey James is expected to commit a portion of his working time to duties as Toronto’s ambassador of visual and photographic culture at events that promote those arts. He will also develop a legacy project, designed in co-operation with City staff, which will be unique to the individual Photo Laureate. James was nominated by a selection committee assembled from Toronto’s photography and visual arts community.


Toronto’s Photo Laureate is collaborating with Poet Laureate Anne Michaels on a legacy book project that combines his photos of Toronto with fictional interpretations by Ms. Michaels. Mr. James is also documenting the Six Points intersection in Etobicoke before a major construction project transforms the area beginning in 2019.

Doors Open visitors view City Hall photo exhibition
For the 2018 edition of Doors Open Toronto Geoffrey James turned City Hall windows into a public exhibition space with his show, Spanning the Don, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Bloor Viaduct and a tribute to Toronto’s first official photographer, Arthur Goss.