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I am a current student in Ryerson University School of Image Arts Photography Studies program and will be entering my third year this fall. Here my love for creating and capturing images has expanded into an unexpected but exciting student career. With the help of and direction by experienced and accomplished professors, my fellow students and I are able to learn and grow as artists while successfully gaining the necessary technical skills and experience. What I love about this program is that students really are able to walk away with the education they want. In my case, I’m working towards establishing a photographic practice as well as a greater appreciation for fine art while becoming a member of a supportive community that encourages us to reach our goals.

I have been lucky enough to explore and expand my passion for photography by taking advantage of my role as a student. Building on Ryerson’s resources and community to help contribute towards my photography practice has been fundamentally important to my education and something that I will continue to grow over the course of my career as an artist. I love to work with photography as a medium because it is always changing and can be used in so many different ways and that’s truly exciting to me.

The Ryerson Image Center (RIC) is a great resource to students, especially those within the School of Image Arts. We’re fortunate to have a research centre, changing exhibitions, the famous Black Star Collection and a number of free public events and programs to attend throughout the year. I joined the RIC team as a part-time Gallery Attendant in May after a year of volunteering as a Docent. I continue to offer exhibition tours to the public but also act as a guide to visiting school groups and special interest groups as well as answer questions, provide information and support our gallery team.

Being able to engage in a dialogue, whether it is about the exhibitions on view at the RIC or the photography world in Toronto and beyond is not only helpful for our visitors but also helpful for me. It’s easy to enjoy a conversation with guests of the gallery who are heavily informed on these topics, but what I find most rewarding about my position is being able to connect with people, educate them and contribute to an appreciation and passion that we share inside a centre that supports and inspires us. Each time I’m here I walk away with a new experience and know I’ve shared a valuable moment with someone.

I look forward to our tour of “What It Means To Be Seen: Photography and Queer Visibility” on July 12. Presented by TD Bank Group, this exhibition addresses the importance of visibility, long tied to the campaign for greater acceptance of those in the gay community. To learn more, please visit: http://www.ryerson.ca/ric/exhibitions/WhatItMeansToBeSeen.html. To register for the talk please go here.

– Eric Watters

Gallery Attendant and Docent
Ryerson Image Centre