501 : Impressions of a Post-Industrial Urban Place
The Toronto street-car system is one of the oldest and most extensive in the Western hemisphere and, with 95 million riders annually, it acts as a cord that ties the city together. The founding of the system dates back to 1861, when the Toronto Street Railway Company was awarded a 30-year franchise to operate horse-drawn railcars in the city. As the city grew, so did the light-rail lines. By the start of World War II, the lines had been fully electrified, spread through much of the city and reached as far away as North York and Richmond Hill. Significant expansion occurred again in the 1990s with new streetcar lines coming in to replace existing bus lines, cementing Toronto's place as a street-car city.
Route 501 is the major east/west street-car line running across greater Toronto. Over 50,000 trips per day are made along this transit corridor. How do people shape the 501 urban space? How does this urban space shape people?
This collection is a study of urban place. People are drawn to space. The space is changed by people from space to place, and the people themselves are changed, first by the space, then by the place, so the place changes further. A space becomes different and, over time, shaped places evolve in the post-industrial urban environment.
Terry Blake is an Ottawa based, interpretive documentary photographer. His initial works were film-based, examining monuments and how societies memorialize and remember, Examples include the Angkor temples of Cambodia and the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. More recently he has turned to urban environments across a number of continents.
Terry’s current works explore post-industrial urban environments and how the urban place that people create both defines them and changes them. Through studies of social landscape, Terry aims to create discussion about the role people’s needs play in the changing of space into an evolving urban place.
Working in digital medium with a 35mm lens, Terry creates unglamorous, direct images. Often the subject is engaged directly, attempting to humanize the scale of urban development. At other times, the work gives a sense of the greater urban space, particularly its social purpose.
Typically, the images are not overly descriptive, allowing the viewers to draw their own observations and conclusions. Terry does not look to create a story but to document how his photographic eye interprets the urban space.