Ian Willms

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Ian Willms is a documentary photographer whose photographic practice resides within the gulf between journalism and contemporary art. Willms strives to communicate the emotional environment surrounding his subjects through a poetic, methodical approach to making pictures. From the baking highways of the American Southwest, to the frozen railways of Siberia, Ian has photographed the narratives of disempowered peoples, wounded environments and forgotten cultures. Over the last four years, Ian has been exploring the impacts of Canada’s Oil Sands boom, being felt within the remote Indigenous communities of Northern Alberta. His most recent project is a photographic ode to his pacifist Mennonite ancestors, who endured five centuries of violent oppression throughout Europe and Russia.

Ian is part of the Global Assignment by Getty Images roster and is a founding member of the Boreal Collective. He is loosely based in Toronto.


Photographer Website:

Published by

The New York Times
The International Herald Tribune
BURN Magazine
The Walrus
Toronto Life
Applied Arts
THIS Magazine
Report On Business Magazine


2013 — Contact Photography Festival Portfolio Award: 1st
2013 — FotoVisura Photography Grant: HM
2013 — Magenta Foundation Flash Forward: Winner
2013 — Canada Council for the Arts: Visual Artists Grant
2013 — Pictures of the Year International Environmental Vision Award: HM
2012 — Photolucida Critical Mass 2012: shortlisted
2012 — National Magazine Awards: Photojournalism & Photo Essay, Gold Award
2012 — Burn Magazine Emerging Photographer Fund: shortlisted
2012 — Ontario Arts Council: Visual Artists Grant
2011 — Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Emerging Photographers: HM
2011 — Contact Photography Festival: Feature Exhibition
2011 — Ontario Arts Council: Exhibition Assistance Grant
2010 — Magnum Expression Award: shortlisted
2010 — Applied Arts Magazine: Young Blood
2010 — NPPA Best of Photojournalism 2010, Domestic News Picture Story: 2nd
2008 — NPAC Student Photographer of the Year: HM
2007 — Society of St. Vincent De Paul: Sisters of Providence Award
2007 — ECNPA Student Visiion Award: HM

Selected Exhibitions

2013 — May: “Private as Public”, Harbord Coin Wash, Toronto, Canada (juried group installation)
2012 — June: “The Present”, Oz Studios, Toronto, Canada (juried group show)
2012 — January: “After The End”, O’Born Contemporary, Toronto, Canada (juried group show)
2011 — October: “The Occupation”, Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography Vitrines, Toronto, Canada (juried solo show)
2011 — June: “Mapping the Flâneur”, Newcastle Arts Centre, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom (group show)
2011 — May: “Home”, Contact Photography Festival Feature Exhibition, Bau-Xi Photo, Toronto Canada (juried group show)
2011 — April: “Merging and Emerging”, Etobicoke Civic Centre, Etobicoke, Canada (juried group show)
2011 — March: “The Cheaper Show”, Black and Yellow Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (juried group show)
2011 — March: “Mapping the Flâneur”, Format International Photography Festival, Derby, United Kingdom (group installation)
2010 — November: “No Comfort”, Group Installation, New Gallery, London, United Kingdom (group installation)
2010 — September: “Detroit”, Pikto Gallery, Toronto, Canada ?(juried solo show)
2003 — March: KOR Gallery, Kitchener, Canada ?(juried group show)

Book Publications

2013 — Global Chorus, Anthology of Worldwide Concern and Enduring Hope
2013 — Magenta Foundation, Flash Forward Emerging Photographers 2013
2011 — Magenta Foundation, Flash Forward Emerging Photographers 2011