- 1984-2020 (Creation)
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Extent and medium
29 cm of textual records
1 audio cassette
Name of creator
Photo Eclipse was a group of photographers who operated The Photo Passage gallery at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, from 1992 to 2000. Founding members Pamela Harris, Judy Whalen and Henry Jablonski organized themselves in the spring of 1992 upon learning that The Photographers Workshop (Gallery TPW) planned to relocate their exhibition space from Harbourfront, and recognizing a resulting loss to the photography community. Calling themselves initially the Committee for the Continuation of Photography at Harbourfront, and later the Curved Wall Collective, the group settled on the name Photo Eclipse. They successfully petitioned Harbourfront for use of the gallery space, naming it The Photo Passage and opening their first exhibition in November of 1992. Other group members included David Hlynsky, Elaine Ling, Vince Pietropaolo, Judith Sandiford, Irena Schön, John Scully, Volker Seding and Jane Watson. Photo Eclipse was active until 2000, mounting more than 30 exhibitions over the course of that time.
Name of creator
Born in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1940, Pamela Harris completed her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Pomona College in 1962, and moved to Toronto in 1967. A self-taught photographer, her work has consistently engaged with issues of social activism and feminist themes. In 1984, she embarked on perhaps her best known project Faces of Feminism, spending the next several years photographing women across Canada. The resulting work was exhibited extensively around Canada, and a selection of 75 photographs was published by Second Story Press as the book Faces of Feminism in 1992.
Pamela Harris first visited Spence Bay in September 1972. In 1973, she spent another four months in Spence Bay, Northwest Territories (now Taloyoak, Nunavut) photographing the people and landscape of the community, conducting interviews, and establishing a community darkroom where she taught local residents (mostly Inuit craftswomen) how to process film and print their own photographs.
In addition to the monograph Another Way of Being, published in 1976, Harris’ Spence Bay. N.W.T. photographs were exhibited in 1974-76 at The Photographers' Gallery in Saskatoon, the David Mirvish Gallery in Toronto, and the Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art in California. Photographs taken and printed by the Spence Bay residents as part of the darkroom project and natural dyes workshop were exhibited in 1974 at the Arctic Women's Workshop, a craft conference and exhibition held at the TD Centre in Toronto. An interview Harris conducted with Theresa Quaqjuaq, one of the Inuit women who participated in the darkroom project with Pamela Harris, was recorded and included in the 1973 Women’s Kit, a teaching aid Harris produced for the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) to be used in high schools and colleges for teaching women’s history in Canada. Excerpts of this interview, as well as an interview with Pamela Harris, were also aired on CBC Radio.
A small settlement near Boothia Peninsula (formerly Boothia Felix) in the Kitikmeot Region, Spence Bay was established by the Hudson Bay Company as a trading post in the 1950s, and settled by Netsilik and Dorset people. According to Harris, the population was about 400 in 1972-1973, most of whom had settled there within the past fifteen years, and many of whom spoke only Inuktitut. Her portraits of the people she met during her stay there and photographs of the landscape she encountered document the traditional ways of life and the rapid changes it underwent due to the cultural influences of the south.
The materials now constituting the Photo Eclipse fonds were maintained following the disbanding of Photo Eclipse by leading member Pamela Harris, who kept the files until she organized them and offered them to the Library & Archives at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2020.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
AGO Credit line: Gift of Pamela Harris, 2021
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Fonds consists of the administrative records of Photo Eclipse, including its founding and operation of The Photo Passage gallery at Harbourfront. Fonds also includes photographic documentation of several exhibitions held at The Photo Passage, and records of advocacy efforts related to public support for photography in Canada in which Pamela Harris was involved.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
No further accruals are expected.
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Conditions governing access
Open. Access to Special Collections is by appointment only. Please contact the reference desk for more information.
Conditions governing reproduction
Copyright is held by the creator or their heirs. Copyright belonging to other parties, such as that of photographs, may still rest with the creator of these items. It is the researcher’s responsibility to obtain permission to publish any part of the fonds.
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Originally prepared 2021; uploaded 22 February 2023
Prepared by Amy Furness