Fonds 2009.010 - John Reeves fonds

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00349 2009.010


John Reeves fonds


  • 1964 - 2006 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1.53 m of textual records

684 photographs
· 4 negatives (col.)
· 154 prints (6 col., 147 b&w)
· 354 work prints (10 col., 344 b&w)
· 162 digital prints (b&w)
· 2 contact sheets (b&w)
· 9 framed/flush mounted b&w prints

119 graphic materials
· 73 posters
· 46 printing proofs

Context area

Name of creator

(1938 - 2016)

Biographical history

Photographer, writer and broadcaster John A. Reeves was born in Burlington, ON, on April 24 th , 1938. Reeves attended one year of art studies at Sir George Williams Art School in Montreal before completing his education at the Ontario College of Art in 1961. Reeves became interested in photography while still a student, and his work has appeared in a number of national and international publications. He served as a special consultant to the National Film Board in the production of the book Between Friends – Entre Amis, published to acknowledge the American Bicentennial in 1976. He has also contributed to several NFB books and exhibitions, including Call Them Canadians (1968), Many Happy Returns (1969), and a collection of portraits of Canadian women in 1975. He has participated in a number of solo and group exhibitions, and his work is
included in public and corporate collections (including The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the National Library of Canada, the University of Toronto Art Centre and the National Archives of Canada).
Reeves began writing for magazines in 1972, and his work appeared in such publications as Toronto Life, Macleans, and Destinations Magazine throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He has also undertaken several writing commissions for companies like Genstar Ltd., Harlequin Enterprises, Cara Holdings Ltd. and Big Sisters/Big Brothers of America. In addition to his writing and photography projects, Reeves has worked as a television and radio broadcaster. He served as host of the arts and entertainment program Toronto in Review on CBC Radio, and he has appeared on The Gerussi Show, TransCanada Matinee, This Country in the Morning, Take Thirty, Twentyfour Hours, Three for the Road, Canada AM, Front Page Challenge, and others.
John Reeves has been the recipient of various graphic awards including the Graphica Club of Montreal and the Toronto Art Directors’ Club. In 2002, the Canadian Association of Illustrators and Photographers awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award. He has exhibited widely, and his photographs of Inuit artists and arctic landscapes are particularly well known.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This fonds includes 4 series: ‘Textual Records – Archival’, ‘Textual Records – Published’, ‘Posters and Proofs’, and ‘Photographic Prints’.

The first series, ‘Textual Records – Archival’, consists of business records for the period 1990 to 2004. This series includes receipts, invoices, and financial statements.

The second series, ‘Textual Records – Published’, includes books, magazines, corporate publications, annual reports, and promotional material written by Reeves.

The third series, ‘Posters and Proofs’, consists of promotional material (including large format reproductions of Reeves’ images), magazine proofs, and photocopies of press and magazine clippings.

The fourth series, ‘Photographic Prints’, includes 13 subseries: ‘Canadian Visual Artists Series’, ‘Photographer Portraits Series’, ‘Canadian Authors Series’, ‘Inuit Series’, '‘Ashoona Women’ Exhibition’, ‘Jazz Lives Book ’, ‘Exile’s Exiles Book, ‘In Contro Book’, ‘Country Music Book Project’, ’Surfacing for Atwood’ Exhibition’, ‘City and Country Home article—Miami Beach’, ‘’Remembering Harold Town’ Exhibition’, and 'Miscellaneous’. -The first subseries, ‘Canadian Visual Artists Series’, includes 22 digital prints of members of the Royal Canadian of the Arts. All of the portraits were taken by Reeves, with the exception of his own (which was done by Peter Croyden). The photographs were taken between 1987 and 2001, and printed in 2007.
-The second subseries, ‘Photographer Portraits Series’, includes 13 prints of varying sizes (some matted). The sitters are photographers, including Reeves.
-The third subseries, ‘Canadian Authors Series’, consists of prints of varying sizes. Sitters include Robertson Davies, Pierre Berton, Margaret Laurence, W.O, Mitchell and Margaret Atwood.
-The fourth subseries, ‘Inuit Series’, consists of 45 photographic prints of various sizes, taken between 1971 and 1998. The sitters are primarily Inuit artists. This series also includes 30 images of the Arctic landscape. The fifth subseries, ‘ ‘Ashoona Women’ Exhibition’, consists of digital prints of three important Inuit women artists.
-The sixth subseries, ‘Jazz Lives Book’, consists of photographs that were published in the book Jazz Lives: 100 Portraits in Jazz. Subjects include Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett and Diana Krall.
-The seventh subseries, ‘Exile’s Exiles Book’, consists of 59 work prints on RC paper; these images were included in the book Exile’s Exiles.
-The eighth subseries, ‘In Contro Book’, includes two work prints printed in 1996 for the book In Contro: Where Italy and Canada Meet.
-The ninth subseries, ‘Country Music Book Project’, consists of images (work prints) that were intended to be part of a publication on country music singers and musicians.
-The tenth subseries, ‘ ‘Surfacing for Atwood’ Exhibition’, includes 19 developmental work prints for the 2008 exhibition of the same name.
-The eleventh subseries, ‘City and Country Home article – Miami Beach’ consists of four negatives and work prints of Miami Beach (street scenes, atmospheric shots, etc.)
The twelfth subseries, ‘ ‘Remembering Harold Town’ Exhibition’, consists of 8 large digital prints of the artist Harold Town, including 6 posterized versions of the portrait and a contact sheet for these versions.
-The thirteenth subseries, ‘Miscellaneous’, consists of a collection of various portraits, landscapes and genre scenes of varying scenes. Some of
these works are matted, and others are exhibition prints.

Subjects represented in this fonds include:

Margaret Atwood
Pierre Berton
Tony Bennett
Dave Brubeck
Morley Callaghan
Roch Carrier
David Cronenberg
Robertson Davies
Arthur Erickson
Ivan Eyre
Max Ferguson
Northrup Frye
Dizzy Gillespie
Moe Koffman
Diana Krall
Margaret Laurence
Irving Layton
Peggy Lee
Jack McClelland
Marshall McLuhan
Ed Mirvish
W.O. Mitchell
Oscar Peterson
Mary Pratt
Mordecai Richler
Jack Shadbolt
R. Murray Schafer
Artie Shaw
Harold Town
Kitty Wells
Peter Worthington

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Preservation concern may limit access, consult archivist.

Conditions governing reproduction

Media Commons does not own copyright of collection materials. Consult rights holder for reproduction(s).

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Dates of creation revision deletion

Data copied from Drupal by Adam Cavanaugh 2022/05/02


  • English



Southam Publications. “Facing Dorset: John Reeves turns his lens north.” The Ottawa Citizen, October 31, 1999, C4.

Hume, Christopher. “John Reeves raves about friends’ faces.” The Toronto Star, December 5, 1990, F3.

Reeves, John. “On Inuit Art.” The Walrus, November 2007.

Reeves’ work can be found in the following books:

Elliott, George and John Reeves. God’s Big Acre: Life in 401 Country. Toronto: Methuen, 1986.

Fillion, John. Thoughts about my sculpture. Toronto: Martlet Press, 1968.

Lees, Gene. Jazz Lives: 100 portraits in jazz. Toronto: Stewart House, 1994.

Newman, Peter C, ed. Debrett’s Illustrated Guide to the Canadian Establishment Agincourt, ON: Methuen, 1983.

Reeves, John. About face. Toronto: Exile Editions, 1990.

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places