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Robert Burley is a photographer and Associate Professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario. Born in 1957 in Picton, Ontario he obtained a bachelor of arts in Media Studies at Ryerson University in 1980 and went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts, with a specialization in photography at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986.
Burley established an architectural photography firm, Design Archive, in 1987 and acted as president and principal photographer for the company until 2000. He began teaching at Ryerson University in 1998 and by 2003, he became full time faculty. Here, he helped develop a new graduate program in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management and served as director of the program from 2003-2008 after which he served as director of Photography Studies from 2009 until 2012.
Burley's book, "The Disappearance of Darkness: Photography at the end of the analog era", released by Princeton Architectural Press in 2012 explored the dwindling analog photography industry. The corresponding travelling exhibition, curated by Dr. Gaëlle Morel, was exhibited at the Ryerson Image Centre, The National Galley of Canada, le Musée Nicéphore Niépce and other venues internationally. Burley was also instrumental in the Ryerson University Library and Archives acquisition of the Kodak Canada Corporate Archives and Heritage Collection when photographing Kodak Canada's Mount Denis factory closure in 2005.
Burley’s photographic work is collected and exhibited internationally and he has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Senior Mellon Fellowship in at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 2010. As an artist his work explores the relationship between nature and cities, architecture and the urban landscape. He is represented by the Stephen Bulger Gallery.
Robert Burley was names a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada's Academy of the Arts and Humanities in 2018. Established in 1883, the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) recognizes the country’s leading scholars, artists and scientists through a competitive, peer-juried process.