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Posed and Poised

The power of portrait photography is fully developed in two simultaneous exhibits hosted by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum.

Steichen captured Broadway actress Mary Heberden for the March 15, 1935 issue of <i>Vogue</i> wearing an off-the-shoulder black satin dress with orchids laced in her hair<br>(photo courtesy of Condé Nast Archive, New York © 1935 Condé Nast Publications).ON NOW A single photo has the ability to identify a time, immediately characterizing the state of the world through global events or the economy, the mood of citizens, trends and fashion. Having evolved from the days of portrait painting, the purveying details of a person—including clothes, jewellery and hairstyles—immortalizes an individual at a given moment in their life, documenting their status for both family records and social history. In Toronto, two separate but complementary exhibits at the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum showcase more than 300 photographs that helped define the culture of the 20th century.