The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is celebrating its 50th year, and the exhibition showing this year's outstanding images of the natural world opened at the ROM last week. Wildlife photography has a history nearly as long as the medium itself.
Allan John Baker (1943 - 2014) was hired by the ROM as Assistant Curator of Ornithology in 1972. He became Associate Curator and Head of the Ornithology Department in 1976, and was promoted to full Curator in 1981. In 1995, he became head of the ROM’s newly established Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, and subsequently became head of the Department of Natural History in 2004.
Since 2004 I had walked the Qalamoun mountains around the monastery of Deir Mar Musa looking for archaeological features to record. In all that time I found one lithic, a stone tool from humanity’s prehistoric past. My colleagues back home that specialised in these objects would say that I just didn’t know what I was looking for. In the last days of the 2009 season, what turned out to be my last season at the monastery, I thought I would reconnoitre the southern part of the field area.
In the years between the World Wars a new design style emerged which embraced the imagery of industrialization. This style, known as Art Deco, responded to the social and technological developments that had come out of the First World War, and celebrated all things modern.
During the recent Hero-themed Friday Night Live at the ROM, I brought out examples of popular prints from the collection that explored different hero tropes in South Asian culture. Here are some of them. About a hundred year ago, mass produced colour lithographs proliferated across the South Asian subcontinent creating new imaginary communities through a shared visual imagery. In this new kind of visual culture, hero images seemed to flip traditional gender roles by being dominated by warrior females and pacifist males.
Today’s blog post is a glimpse of a tale that is largely untold. It is the story of the exploration of the Canadian Arctic, as seen by Adam White in his botanical scrapbooks. These scrapbooks were donated to the University of Toronto, and came to the ROM together with what is now the ROM’s Green Plant Herbarium. What do these scrapbooks have to do with Franklin, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror? It’s a fantastic story!