Robert Burley

“Because I want people in the future to know this world I’ve known about, you’re careful about how you describe things with pictures. You want it to be accurate, you want it to be true but you want it to be your experience at the same time.”

Robert Burley has been practising photography for over 20 years. His work concentrates on the relationship between nature and the city, architecture and the urban landscape. 

He completed his B.A.A. in Media Studies at Ryerson University in 1980, and then went on to complete his Masters of Fine Arts in Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

In many of Burley’s projects, a location or area is studied intently, from which a photographic portfolio is developed. Both historical and cultural information embedded in the studied landscape are presented through an impeccable aesthetic approach.

In his 2013 book and accompanying exhibition, The Disappearance of Darkness, he examines the dramatic demise of film-manufacturing facilities and industrial darkrooms. Burley developed this project through his role coordinator of the Kodak Lecture Series, which brought well-recognized photographers and curators to the Ryerson University campus for public lectures. This role provided him with direct access with Eastman Kodak Canada executives. Through this relationship, he learned of the imminent closure of Kodak’s Toronto manufacturing plant and he had an immediate desire to document this period of photographic history. 

Burley is a professor at Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts in Toronto.