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Scenes from Under Childhood: Photographs from the Collection of Dr. Stephen Brown

Fall 2020
Curators: Paul Roth, Gaëlle Morel and Valérie Matteau
University Gallery

This exhibition explores the rich, complex, and often mysterious experiences of childhood through the photography collection of Dr. Stephen Brown, a pediatric pain management specialist. From the nineteenth century to the present day, many photographers have been drawn to document children’s passage through the high dramas and daily pleasures of life’s early stages. Dr. Brown, founding medical director of the Chronic Pain Clinic at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, has spent more than twenty years assembling a collection that intimately explores the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development of children. Spanning the nineteenth century to the present day, Scenes from Under Childhood explores a range of childhood adventures and episodes—from infancy through the teenage years; in rural isolation and on city streets; in the quiet of home and during times of war; alone, at play, and with their families—in works by a remarkable array of photographers from around the world.

A new book featuring the collection of Dr. Stephen Brown will be released in 2021 by the Ryerson Image Centre, in partnership with German photobook publisher Hirmer Verlag. Edited by Toronto author and photo-historian Sara Knelman, this richly-illustrated volume will benefit the Chronic Pain Clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

 

Events:

Exhibition Tours
Daily 2:30 pm

All events take place at the Ryerson Image Centre, unless otherwise noted.

 

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Kids climb a wall while a little girl rides a bike in the foreground.
Fig. 1

Hu Wugong, Kids on the Wall, 1996 (printed 2010), pigment print. Courtesy of the artist. Collection of Dr. Stephen Brown

A photo of a girl who stands on a snowy street with a fur hat and winter jacket
Fig. 2

Grit Schwerdtfeger, Zehn, 23 Dezember, 2010 (printed 2015), pigment print. Courtesy of the artist and Corkin Gallery, Toronto. Collection of Dr. Stephen Brown 

A scene of war, in which a mother and three children stand in front of a destroyed building
Fig. 3

Unknown photographer for ACME News Pictures, [Belgian mother and her three children], 1940, gelatin silver print. Collection of Dr. Stephen Brown 

Three young women pose together on a verandah in dresses.
Fig. 4

Charles Lallemand, Jewish Women in Syria, ca. 1865, albumen print. Collection of Dr. Stephen Brown

Scenes from Under Childhood: Photographs from the Collection of Dr. Stephen Brown