Barbara Isherwood’s Hot Docs Speaker Series Focuses on ‘The Great Photographers’

Faculty News

March 2, 2022

Yorkville University’s resident art historian, Barbara Isherwood, is set to host one of Hot Docs’ “eye-popping” upcoming speaker series, Curious Minds: The Great Photographers

Historian Barbara Isherwood
Barbara Isherwood

The weekly, in-person event – which will acquaint attendees with some of history’s most esteemed photographers – will take place every Monday afternoon from March 14 and April 18 at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema506 Bloor St. W.

From the stirring portraits of Richard Avedon and Robert Frank, to the impassioned eye of Henri Cartier-Bresson, to the creative masterworks of Diane ArbusWilliam Eggleston and Sally Mann – Isherwood talks will reveal the personal stories and creative processes behind some of the 20th century’s most arresting photographs, presented in lushly illustrated slides on the big screen. 

The Great Photographers highlights the work of men and women who have made significant contributions to the art of photography, from the genesis of the medium in the 19th century, to the present day,” said Isherwood, an Art History professor at Yorkville.  

“We’ll explore the diversity of approach that makes photography so engaging, include traditional documentary, high modernism, abstraction, classics of fashion photography, and the resurgence of staged images associated with postmodernism.” 

Registration for the six-week Curious Minds: The Great Photographers speaker series is $69 and can be completed here

The sessions will take place as follows:

Julia Margaret Cameron's photo Beatrice (1866)
Julia Margaret Cameron’s Beatrice, 1866

March 14: The Pioneers
In the 19th century entrepreneurs, amateurs and artists took up the challenges of bulky cameras and complicated chemistry, producing the first masterpieces of photographic portraiture, landscape, social documentary and inventive literary tableaux. Meet Julia Margaret CameronNadarCarleton E. Watkins and Gertrude Käsebier.

March 21: Modernism in Europe
In the wake of World War I, photography comes into its own as an art form. While August SanderAndré Kertész and Brassaï capture the faces and places of modern Europe, Alexander Rodchenko and Man Ray put photography at the service of revolution and dreams, and Josef Sudek uses the camera as a means of highly personal expression.

Edward Weston's photo Pepper 30 (1930)
Edward Weston’s Pepper 30, 1930

March 28: Modernism in North America
Edward Steichen brings his Jazz Age vision to the pages of Vanity Fair. Paul Strand and Berenice Abbott capture the dynamism of New York City and its people, while Edward Weston and Ansel Adams set the standard for the fine print, and radical Tina Modotti marries a modernist vision with a social documentarian’s empathy.

Walker Evans' photo Roadside Stand Near Birmingham (1936)
Walker Evans’ Roadside Stand Near Birmingham, 1936

April 4: The Recording Eye
Photography’s role as witness to events large and small gives birth to iconic images of the 20th century, from the Depression-era Deep South, to the boulevards of Paris, to the sidewalks of Harlem. We explore works by Henri Cartier-BressonDorothea LangeWalker EvansRobert FrankRoy DeCarava and Vivian Maier.

April 11: Art and Commerce
Photography’s potential as a medium for personal expression comes to fore in the work Diane ArbusHarry Callahan and Daido Moriyama, while Irving PennRichard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz bring an artist’s eye to the commercial realms of fashion and portraiture.

Cindy Sherman's Untitled #96 (1981)
Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #96, 1981

April 18: The Contemporaries
Since the 1980s photography has been an equal player in the wider art world, breaking auction records and appearing in prestigious exhibitions worldwide. Encounter some of the most celebrated figures in the medium today, including Joel MeyerowitzSally MannCindy ShermanSebastião SalgadoAndreas Gursky and Edward Burtynsky.

***Enhanced safety precautions will be put in place for these courses, including 50 per cent seating capacity and suspended food & drink service. Click here for more information on Hot Docs’ health and safety protocols.