Toronto’s Runnymede library is home to more than its usual collection of multimedia this month.
A photo exhibition titled, The Foot that Moves the Pedal is on display at the library until March 31. The exhibition is the work of photographer Henry VanderSpek. It features bicycle themed photographs from North America, Europe and Africa.
VanderSpek says he has been working as a photographer “for a number of years and two years ago he ( sic) started doing art shows.” His work is not typically devoted to bicycles but the photographer has found that they do crop up in his work quite often.
“Bikes are really big in Toronto….they are especially big in Holland where my parents are from….I noticed that bikes were some of my favorite images and becoming a theme in my images,” VanderSpek says.
When the chance arose for an exhibition at the library, the central theme of the show was obvious.
“I had the opportunity to show my work at the library I thought what a great theme to make it just about bikes,” he says.
VenderSpek has previously worked as a photographer for WorldVision, an NGO that sent him to East-Africa. While he was there he began to appreciate the asthetics of bicycles.
“I find bikes can be artistic in the way they are made, ” he says. “Even when they are just sitting on the street, I can appreciate their beauty.”
VenderSpek says the way bikes are used in Toronto is very different compared to Africa.
“I really admire people who bike all year round in Toronto….In Africa people use them to bring goods to market. You see people walking a bicycle loaded with baskets or water into the village,” he says.
Public Library manager Helen Flint says “it’s a great art exhibit, full of wonderful photos, and it makes you want to go places.”
Her sentiment was echoed by Christopher Neil, 71, who says “these are amazing pieces of art, I wouldn’t mind hanging one in my home.”