A Lens on Photography
For Toronto gallerist Stephen Bulger, photography was first a hobby, then an academic interest, and, finally, a way of life. After photographing as a child and then studying the subject, he founded the Stephen Bulger Gallery in 1994. Since then, he’s enriched the city’s art scene with his inventory of approximately 15,000 photographs. The trove emphasizes works that define the documentary tradition and historical photographs from Canada.
The gallery provides much more than regular exhibitions. Bibliophiles take note: the gallery also features a bookstore with a title list of over 3,000 books on photography. Cinephiles, something for you too: the gallery hosts free Saturday afternoon film screenings.
Bulger discussed his gallery’s participation in the recent Art Toronto art fair and what we can expect from his program this winter.
Discuss your involvement with Art Toronto—what you brought to the fair and the importance of showing there this year.
We have participated in most editions of Art Toronto, only pausing when business required us to be elsewhere. We presented a solo booth devoted to the work of Vivian Maier, a photographer unknown during her lifetime, whose posthumous discovery has caused her to become an international figure.
Describe the contemporary art scene in Toronto and how your gallery fits in.
Toronto is Canada’s largest art market, and buyers are active in all forms of art and artifact. Bulger Gallery specializes in photographs of all types and is the country’s go to destination for all things photographic.
Who are some artists that you will be showing in the next few months, and how did you become interested in them?
We represent close to 50 leading photographers, each of whom are exemplary of different approaches to the medium. In the next few months we are presenting new work by Sara Angelucci, Scott Conarroe, Viktor Kolar, and Geoffrey James. I am interested in what these photographers tell us about the world we live in through their photographs. I am drawn to intelligent opinions and present photographs that use the medium to produce images through which we can better understand ourselves.
What are some of your favorite venues in the city for art-related events?
Every day of the week seems to offer us with new work to see at a multitude of venues. I am fond of how the CONTACT Photography Festival in May incorporates public venues in unexpected locations across the city. During the remainder of the year, we like to tour private and corporate collections. With ample lead-time, we can visit these places with clients, especially if they are visiting from out of town.