Michael Torosian

Canada 1952

Photography, Prints


Michael Torosian
Michael Torosian
March 15, 2016

Although he’s been doing photography for quite some time now, it would be wrong to describe the work of Michael Torosian as pure photography. The reason for that is his work in printing which he’s been doing almost as long as photography. To combine his two kinds of work or passions in one, he decided to open Lumiere Press, a publishing agency for limited edition books specialized in photography. Since 1986, when Lumiere Press was open, Torosian has published around 18 handmade books, all on the subject of photography and famous photographers. When it comes to the pure photography part, Michael’s work focuses on still and simple takes of people. Photographs are either portraits or are connected by a similar subject, such as Anatomy where he took a number of photographs on the topic of female’s body.

Michael Torosian - Anatomy Set of Photographs - Photo Credits: bulgergallery.com
Michael Torosian – Anatomy Set of Photographs – Photo Credits: bulgergallery.com

Printing Books as a Personal Passion

It would be wrong to describe Torosian’s approach to book printing as an everyday job. His printing is more of a passion or an art-form than a simple business. Instead of the usual printing techniques that are used today, such as laser printing for massive quantities, Torosian books are handmade. From the title pages, book design to typography. How Torosian came to this is an interesting story. The root lies in dissatisfaction with the way photo exhibitions were organized while he was still building his image as a photographer.
Before he ventured into the world of printing books, he started his career as a fine art photographer. Displeased primarily with the short time an exhibition would last, he began to create self-made limited edition portfolios of his work. In this process, the passion was created and Torosian ventured into the artistic attempt of creating books. As a primary intrigue in photography, after he published few of his own work, he also published honorary work about photographers he himself admires such as Edward Weston or Michel Lambeth. Lambeth was Torosian’s mentor and through him, he ventured into the photography of people who are connected by a same topic or event. In his early time, he photographed people on different open events and happenings, usually taking narrow shots of people’s faces.

In his early time, he mostly photographed black & white portraits

Michael Torosian - The Toronto Suite of Photographs - Photo Credits: bulgergallery.com
Michael Torosian – The Toronto Suite of Photographs – Photo Credits: bulgergallery.com

Photographs With a Clear Message

When it comes purely to Torosian’s photography, his work is simple and almost too direct. Meaning, his photographs often show everything in an instant, leaving no time for speculation or thinking. The message is clear and understandable, no hesitation. Still, a certain presence can be felt. It can best be seen in his technical work, the portraits. They fulfill the needed function, but still, they have an intriguing atmosphere around them. The best way to describe it would be fake calmness. That is a figure that’s calm on the outside, with a well-hidden turbulence on the inside.

Besides general portraits, Torosian sometimes takes a different approach

Michael Torosian - Aurora Set of Photographs - Photo Credits: bulgergallery.com
Michael Torosian – Aurora Set of Photographs – Photo Credits: bulgergallery.com

A Book Printing Photographer

Defining what’s primary in Torosian’s work would be hard and unnecessary. The best description would be a combination of two forms that have been united by an unexpected coincidence in Torosian’s life. It could also be said Torosian was the right person for this kind of combination because the approach he has to both forms is personal and generous. He implements one art form into another, where the later is usually not defined as a specific art. Nevertheless, because of his approach, book printing becomes an art form that requires patience and dedication like any other art-form.

He is represented by The Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto.

Michael Torosian lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Featured image: Michael Torosian photo credits: www.theglobeandmail.ca

YearName if the ExhibitionGallery-MuseumSolo-Group
2015Dave HeathHoward Greenberg Gallery, New YorkGroup
2015Celebrating Twenty YearsStephen Bulger Gallery, TorontoGroup
2014Alcuin Society Awards For Excellence in Book Design in Canada (Black Star)National Gallery of Canada, OttawaGroup
2014Best Photobooks of the Year (Black Star)Biblioteca Nacional de España, MadridGroup
2013Best Book Design From All Over the World (Eduard et Voulangis)Frankfurt and Leipzig Book FairsGroup
2013TorosianRyerson Image Centre, TorontoSolo
2012Alcuin Society Awards For Excellence in Book Design in Canada (Eduard et Voulangis)E.H. Norman Library, Canadian Embassy, TokyoGroup
2010AIGA 50 Books/50 CoversAmerican Institute of Graphic Arts National Design Center, New YorkGroup
2010Best Book Design From All Over the WorldFrankfurt and Leipzig Book FairsnGroup
2009Alcuin Society Awards For Excellence in Book Design in Canada Design Exchange, TorontoGroup
2009Best Book Design From All Over the World (An American Gallery)Frankfurt and Leipzig Book FairsGroup
2008An American GalleryMuseum London, London, OntarioGroup
2008The Public StageRyerson University, Ryerson Gallery, TorontoGroup
200725 Years: A CelebrationHoward Greenberg Gallery,New YorkGroup
2005TorosianStephen Bulger Gallery, TorontoSolo
2005Regarding AvHart House, University of TorontoGroup
2004NOW and The 80s: A Photographic Exhibitionhomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of TorontoGroup
2000Arts 2000Gallery Stratford, Stratford, OntarioGroup
1998TorosianStephen Bulger Gallery, TorontoSolo
1996Art of the Flanêrie: A Glance Back at Canadian Street PhotographyKenderdine Gallery, University of Saskatchewan, SaskatoonGroup
1995From the CollectionCanadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, OttawaGroup
1994The Michael Snow ProjectArt Gallery of Ontario, TorontoGroup
1994TorosianArt Gallery of PeterboroughSolo
1994TorosianSimon Lowinsky Gallery, New YorknSolo
1994TorosianCanadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, OttawaSolo
1994The Witkin Gallery 25th AnniversaryThe Witkin Gallery, New YorkGroup
1994TorosianCarleton University Art Gallery, OttawaSolo
1993Art of the Book ’93Ontario Craft Council Gallery, TorontoGroup
1993TorosianSable-Castelli Gallery, TorontoSolo
1993Facing HistoryNational Archives of Canada, OttawaGroup
1992TorosianSable-Castelli Gallery, TorontoSolo
1991TorosianThe Isaacs Gallery, TorontoSolo
1991Small VillagesArt Gallery of HamiltonnGroup
1990TorosianAmericas Society, New YorkSolo
1990TorosianMacdonald Stewart Art Centre, GuelphSolo
1989TorosianThe Isaacs Gallery, TorontoSolo
1988Photoperspectives ’88 Presentation House Gallery, VancouverGroup
1988Fotografia Canadiense ContemporaneaMuseo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico CityGroup
1987TorosianLatitude 53 Gallery, EdmontonSolo
1987TorosianMarcuse Pfeifer Gallery, New YorkSolo
1987Alternatives ’87Ohio University School of Art, AthensGroup
1987TorosianToronto Image Works Gallery, TorontoSolo
1986Commitment to VisionMuseum of Art, University of Oregon, EugeneGroup
1986The 1985 Annual ShowThe Puck Building, New YorkGroup
1986TorosianJustina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of TorontoSolo
1985TorosianArt Gallery of York University, TorontoSolo
1984Contemporary Canadian PhotographyNational Gallery of Canada, OttawaGroup
1983Latitudes and ParallelsWinnipeg Art GalleryGroup
1981TorosianThe Burton Gallery, TorontoSolo
1979TorosianNational Film Board Gallery, OttawaSolo
1979TorosianUniversity of Oregon, EugeneSolo
1978TorosianGreater Victoria Public Library, British ColumbiaSolo
1978CanadiansMount St. Vincent University, HalifaxGroup
1977TorosianPhotographic Arts Gallery, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, TorontoSolo
1977TorosianKelowna Art Gallery, British ColumbiaSolo
1976TorosianPhotographic Arts Gallery, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, TorontoSolo
1975TorosianCafe La Barge Gallery, TorontoSolo
1975TorosianNational Film Board Gallery, OttawaSolo
1975ExposureArt Gallery of Ontario, TorontoGroup
1974TorosianNational Film Board Gallery, OttawaSolo
1974TorosianRobert McLaughlin Gallery, OshawaSolo