Toronto is getting a “photo laureate”

Toronto is getting a “photo laureate”

(Image: The City of Toronto)

Love taking photos? Hate getting paid anything at all? City hall may have an opening for you.

One of the lesser-reported outcomes of this week’s city council meeting is the creation of a new “Photo Laureate of Toronto” position. The move was advocated by Ward 21 councillor Joe Mihevc, whose member motion says that the new post will help “celebrate the telling of our City’s story” and also “celebrate the craft of photography.” Except, as it turns out, this celebration does not have a champagne budget.

The original proposal was for the position to be modelled after the existing poet laureate position, whose current holder, George Elliott Clarke, gets an annual honorarium of $10,000. Council, in its infinite large-heartedness, approved Mihevc’s motion but ruled out the possibility of giving any cash to the person who gets the job. And so when the photo laureate program begins, probably in 2015, it will likely be unpaid.

On the upside, the gig is a fast track to getting one’s work included in the Toronto Archives, where one day it will be discovered by a magazine’s online editor and used, for free, at the top of an article. And the circle of unpaid labour will be complete.