Margaret Seaton Corry (née Smith)

By: Deepali Dewan

 Interview with Margaret’s niece, Beverley Martin and her daughter, Tracy Martin, at the Royal Ontario Museum. (Photo: C. Barreto, 2016).

Interview with Margaret’s niece, Beverley Martin and her daughter, Tracy Martin, at the Royal Ontario Museum. (Photo: C. Barreto, 2016).

Margaret’s parents migrated to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland; her father came first by boat in April 1904 and was joined later by her mother and two older brothers. Margaret and her younger sister Helen were born in Canada and the family home served as the first stop for other newcomers from Glasgow. Margaret married Nick Corry and spent almost two decades traveling around the world because of his position in the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). From 1947-1963, they were stationed in locations in the Middle East and Asia—China, India, Sri Lanka, Iran, Philippines, and Thailand—at a time of profound historical and geopolitical change. She returned home to Canada periodically on leave, passing through post-WWII Europe and United States, and attended family reunions at her mother’s cottage by the lake in Northern Ontario. These experiences are captured in a series of 20 albums that Margaret painstakingly put together that contain a running narrative of her experiences in the form of a typed text alongside the photographs. The photos were mostly taken by herself and Nick, as many images show them holding cameras, along with some taken by their traveling companions, and commercial images that Margaret picked up or was gifted along the way. The captions are written in an intimate and informal voice, resembling a long letter home. Indeed, these albums may have been put together as a way to share her experiences with family in Canada. The albums have survived in the home of several family members, finally resting with Margaret’s niece, who in the interview recalls Aunt Margaret as the sophisticated world traveler who was often away. The collection includes two older family albums likely put together by Margaret and other non-photographic documents relating to the family history. Through these items, Margaret seems to have functioned as the self-chosen family archivist, perhaps as a way to make sense of her own place in a world marked by movement, which dominated her life too but in a different way than her ancestors. 

 Margaret Corry, album-page showing elephant riding in Jaipur, India. From Margaret Corry’s album of travels through Hyderabad, Ajanta, Dehra Dun, Madras, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Gaspe, Quebec, and Ontario. 1954. Gelatin silver prints and typed captions mounted on paper. Gift of Beverley Martin. Courtesy of The Family Camera Network and the ROM. 2017.34.10.26 (Photo: Courtesy of Brian Boyle MPA, FPPO photo, 2017 © ROM). 

Margaret Corry, album-page showing elephant riding in Jaipur, India. From Margaret Corry’s album of travels through Hyderabad, Ajanta, Dehra Dun, Madras, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Gaspe, Quebec, and Ontario. 1954. Gelatin silver prints and typed captions mounted on paper. Gift of Beverley Martin. Courtesy of The Family Camera Network and the ROM. 2017.34.10.26 (Photo: Courtesy of Brian Boyle MPA, FPPO photo, 2017 © ROM). 


The Corry albums, the Martin collection, and their stories can be accessed in The Family Camera Network public archive at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Teo Owang

By: Sajdeep Soomal

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Teo Owang is a 46-year-old queer mom to a nine-year-old boy named Matthew. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Teo migrated to Canada after high school. Transferring to NYU soon after, she lived a different life in New York for several years, marrying a man, de-Africanizing herself and working briefly as a model. Returning to Canada at the age of 30, Teo developed a relationship with a woman that ended rather tragically, but marked the beginning of a new chapter in her queer life. In the interview, Teo talks about 10 photographs, including a studio portrait of her parents, nude pictures of Teo while she was pregnant with Matthew, and a photograph of her kissing her son Matthew when he was a baby. Teo talks about her other queer siblings and how coming out as queer strained relations with her mother.

 Teo kissing her son, matthew. Unknown photographer. 2008. digital image of a dye coupler print behind glass. Gift of Teo owang. Courtesy of the family camera network and the Canadian lesbian and gay archives.

Teo kissing her son, matthew. Unknown photographer. 2008. digital image of a dye coupler print behind glass. Gift of Teo owang. Courtesy of the family camera network and the Canadian lesbian and gay archives.


Teo's photos and interview can be accessed in The Family Camera Network public archive at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Cecilio Escobar

By: Sajdeep Soomal

 Cecilio Escobar in interview with Elspeth Brown and Sajdeep Soomal at CLGA (Photo: C. Barreto, 2017)

Cecilio Escobar in interview with Elspeth Brown and Sajdeep Soomal at CLGA (Photo: C. Barreto, 2017)

Cecilio Escobar is a 27-year-old trans Latinx who grew up in Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario. His parents and extended family emigrated to Canada from El Salvador before he was born. In the interview, Cecilio talks about two sets of materials – a collection of analog photographs held by his mother and his personal set of video diaries and digital photographs. After a brief period identifying as lesbian while attending OCADU, Cecilio began to figure out his trans identity and explore his Latinx heritage. In 2016, Cecilio transitioned and had top surgery at the McLean Clinic in Mississauga, ON. In both interviews, he discusses his closeness with and love for his family, especially his mom and elder brother, but also his queer and trans “chosen family” and his “son” – his cat Percy. As a fine arts student, photography and videography have always been important to Cecilio.

 Cecilio and his son/cat, Percy. Photographed by Cecilio Escobar. c. 2016. Toronto, Ontario. Digital Image. Gift of Cecilio Escobar. Courtesy of The Family Camera Network and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Cecilio and his son/cat, Percy. Photographed by Cecilio Escobar. c. 2016. Toronto, Ontario. Digital Image. Gift of Cecilio Escobar. Courtesy of The Family Camera Network and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.


Cecilio's photos and interview can be accessed in The Family Camera Network public archive at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Pat Antliff

By: Pat Antliff

 Pat Antliff in interview with Thy Phu. Videographer: Annette Mangaard. Photo: C. Barreto, 2018.

Pat Antliff in interview with Thy Phu. Videographer: Annette Mangaard. Photo: C. Barreto, 2018.

Pat Antliff was seven when her mother gave her a Brownie Hawkeye box camera, sparking her interest in photography. Nowadays, a camera – or two – is never far from reach.  Photography has become her passion and creative outlet, enabling her to document travel, street scenes and landscapes.  Her family lives in a lakeside community and like most parents, she enjoys capturing milestones and special moments as her children grew.  While photographs have always connected her to the memories of her own past and shared moments with relatives and friends, she wasn’t prepared for the journey of discovery that arrived a couple of years ago by way of an old suitcase inherited from her father.

This suitcase revealed a treasure trove of old family photographs and took her on a journey into the distant past.  Relatives of Irish and English origins gazed out at her from formal portraits and, later, in snapshots. They posed in horse-drawn carriages, long gowns, and with children whose life stories have now been written.  Amongst these photographs, one stood out: her Grandmother’s graduation picture, taken by the famed Notman Studio.  Pat had only ever known her Grandmother, Greta Dougall, as a child but never understood her as a person.  She discovered they had both chosen non-traditional careers; Greta’s dream was to become a businesswoman. In 1921, Greta was the first woman to graduate from McGill University’s Bachelor of Commerce program. However, her ambitions were thwarted by a male-dominated industry.  Pat has been a Cyber Security Professional for the past 30 years, an industry with only 11% female representation.  Although they are from different eras, through the photos and narrative of her Grandmother’s life, Pat came to recognize and relate not only to the professional challenges Greta faced but also her tenacity, courage, and resilience in response to these challenges.

 Graduation portrait of Greta Dougall. Photographed by William Notman and Sons Photographic Studio. 1921. Montreal, Quebec. Gelatin silver print on card. Gift of Pat Antliff. Courtesy of The Family Camera Network and the ROM.

Graduation portrait of Greta Dougall. Photographed by William Notman and Sons Photographic Studio. 1921. Montreal, Quebec. Gelatin silver print on card. Gift of Pat Antliff. Courtesy of The Family Camera Network and the ROM.


Pat's photos and interview can be accessed in The Family Camera Network public archive at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Sajdeep Soomal

By: Sajdeep Soomal

 Sajdeep Soomal in interview with Elspeth Brown and Vinh nguyen at the CLGA (Photo: C. Barreto, 2018)

Sajdeep Soomal in interview with Elspeth Brown and Vinh nguyen at the CLGA (Photo: C. Barreto, 2018)

Sajdeep Soomal (Saj) is a 23-year-old Punjaban who grew up in Cambridge, Ontario and left for Montreal after graduating high school. In two interviews, we hear from Saj at two junctures in their coming-of-age story. In the first interview, working through a large selection of family photographs that Saj assembled for mural in his childhood home, we learn about his extended family’s migration journey and diasporic struggles. In the second interview, we take a look at a selection of recent born-digital photographs and childhood videos of Saj. Weaving through their identifications, flirtations and commitments to gayness, queerness, transness, and khusraness at different points, Saj talks about the ongoing challenges of finding home in their injured body. Saj repeatedly returns to the importance of family in their life, emphasizing how close they are to their younger sister.

 Sajdeep Soomal at SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre). Digital image. Photographed by Sajdeep soomal. Mar 15, 2017. Toronto, Ontario. gift of Sajdeep Soomal. Courtesy of The Family Camera Network and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Sajdeep Soomal at SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre). Digital image. Photographed by Sajdeep soomal. Mar 15, 2017. Toronto, Ontario. gift of Sajdeep Soomal. Courtesy of The Family Camera Network and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.


Sajdeep's photos and interview can be accessed in The Family Camera Network public archive at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

The Sinha-Brendemühl Family

By: Deepali Dewan

 Interview with Debashis Sinha and Jutta Brendemühl at their home in Toronto. (Photo: D. Dewan, November 2016)

Interview with Debashis Sinha and Jutta Brendemühl at their home in Toronto. (Photo: D. Dewan, November 2016)

Debashis was born and raised in Winnipeg. His Bengali parents moved to Canada from Bihar, India in the 1960s. Jutta’s parents fled East Germany after WWII with only two suitcases, and Jutta was born in West Germany. In 1999, she emigrated alone as an adult to Toronto. Jutta and Debashis married in Toronto and then adopted their daughter from an orphanage in Kolkata, India. In this interview, we look at the role that photographs played in Jutta’s life especially when she became the family photographer at a young age after her father’s death, and how photographs reflected rites of passage for Debashis when he was traveling in the world and starting his music career. We also discuss the important role photographs played before and after the arrival of their daughter, Leena, and throughout the adoption process. There is the album that Jutta and Debashis had to put together for the orphanage to select them, the one that the orphanage put together for Leena of her life before adoption, the one about her Canadian family that Debashis and Jutta put together for Leena before her arrival, and ones they have created together. These are kept on a living room shelf where Leena can easily access them. In the albums are photographs that recreate situations from many years earlier and photographs where Leena is in the same pose as Jutta as a young girl. Every Christmas the family has a photo taken with Santa that joins others from previous years on their kitchen fridge. Through family photos, they hope that Leena will always have something to make sense of who she is and where she came from. The photos include analogue prints, analogues prints that have been scanned and reprinted in albums, digital scans of analogue prints, and born-digital images taken with cameras and cellphones. Among them are family photos that Leena has started to make herself. 

 Leena with an iPhone 4. Photographed by Leena. Around 2011. Toronto, Ontario. Digital photograph. Gift of the Sinha/Brendemühl family. Courtesy of The family Camera Network and the ROM. 

Leena with an iPhone 4. Photographed by Leena. Around 2011. Toronto, Ontario. Digital photograph. Gift of the Sinha/Brendemühl family. Courtesy of The family Camera Network and the ROM. 


The Sinha-Brendemühl family's photos and interview can be accessed in The Family Camera Network public archive at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Mudit Ganguly

By: Sajdeep Soomal

 Mudit Ganguly in interview with Elspeth Brown at the CLGA (Photo: C. Barreto, 2017)

Mudit Ganguly in interview with Elspeth Brown at the CLGA (Photo: C. Barreto, 2017)

 Skype conversation between Mudit Ganguly and his parents, Mali and Alin. Screenshot by Mudit Ganguly. 2017. Toronto, Ontario; Mumbai, India. Digital image. Gift of Mudit Ganguly.   Courtesy of The Family Camera Network and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.   

Skype conversation between Mudit Ganguly and his parents, Mali and Alin. Screenshot by Mudit Ganguly. 2017. Toronto, Ontario; Mumbai, India. Digital image. Gift of Mudit Ganguly. Courtesy of The Family Camera Network and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

 


Mudit Ganguly is a queer 23-year-old graduate student in the OCADU digital futures program who grew up in Mumbai, India and came to Canada in September 2016 to begin his graduate training. In this interview, we look at two sets of photographs – one set of analog photos that belong to his mother, and another that document his queer family of friends in Toronto and Mumbai. Knowing that he was gay since childhood and growing up in a progressive family, Mudit talks about how his parents accepted him before and after coming out. He communicates with them now through Skype once a week – his elder brother sets up the camera for them so that the Skype can unfold. Mudit understands himself as an activist on behalf of queer human rights in India and elsewhere. His first gay pride parade was in 2013 in Mumbai; just two years later homosexuality was re-criminalized. Most of the snapshots from this period were taken on his phone and placed on Facebook; they mostly document his queer friendship circle.


Mudit's photos and interview can be accessed in The Family Camera Network public archive at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.