There are a few exhibits showing at the Ryerson Image Centre at the moment but the one that I want to highlight today is “Rich and Poor” by Jim Goldberg.  Goldberg took portraits of people in the San Francisco area in their home environments between 1977 and 1985.  They are divided into two sections, “rich” and “poor”.

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

below: Each portrait is accompanied by a comment from the person being portrayed, in their own handwriting.  This woman, Nell, provides the wonderful quote: “If you want to stunt your growth, be rich.”

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

below: The pictures are fascinating, and the words reveal more details of the subjects.  “My wife is acceptable”.   The poor woman.  In the picture she is off to the side and almost disappears into the background as she looks at the floor.   I thought of the words ‘abject’ and ‘woeful’ when I first saw her but I think that maybe the best word to describe the look on her face is ‘blank’.

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

below: Whether you’re rich or poor, or more likely some where in between, what you say about yourself if you were the subject?

Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) gallery, Jim Goldberg portraits "Rich and Poor' exhibition of black and white portraits in San Francisco in the 1980s

This show continues until April 8th

Comments
  1. Joanne Sisco says:

    Regina’s comment compared to Edgar’s is heart-breaking. This poor woman!

    I don’t know what I’d say …. maybe, I’ve been lucky and I’m grateful.

  2. Rebel Girl says:

    The second one is so sad but I love the first one. What a great idea he had!

  3. Oh wow, this is so powerful. I wish to read them all.

    • Mary C says:

      For the most part, the poor want more and the rich are sad and depressed even though they have more than they need. Not many were happy. I am not sure if that is a reflection on society as a whole, or a reflection on the people that the artist chose.

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