Stephen Wreakes

I don’t go out with any preconceived ideas or look for specific subjects but I find that pictures of certain things have accumulated over time- street musicians and preachers, people on steps for example. I suspect this approach comes from a reaction to having a career where I had to be very precise, taking these photographs for other people. 


Stephen Wreakes was born in Blackpool, England in 1952. His first camera was a gift from his aunt in Canada for his tenth birthday. While he no longer has that camera, he does have some negatives and prints made during his first summer in Toronto in 1963. Steve’s more serious interest in photography began in his teens. He was fortunate to develop this interest into a career. A graduate of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Steve has worked as a Medical Photographer at Toronto East General and Orthopaedic Hospital, The Wellesley Hospital, Saint Michael’s Hospital (the latter two also in Toronto) and at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton from 1991 to 2015.

His professional work is in a number of publications, including Principles of Airway Management, The New England Journal of Medicine, Neurocritical Care, Nature, The British Journal of Urology, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and for Alberta Health Services displays and articles. Personal work has been shown in “After Hours”, 1991 and more recently in “… a Thousand Words”, 2006, and the University if Alberta Hospitals 100 Anniversary exhibition, 2007. The photographs from “…a Thousand Words” are part of the University Hospital’s permanent collection. Work has also been exhibited as a member of the Monochrome Guild in “8 Solos: Fused by Silver”, 2008 and “Common Contrast”, 2009. All shows were at the McMullen Gallery. Stephen has had three shows in the McMullen Gallery’s ‘After Hours’ space across from the main gallery: Portraits in 2012, In Japan (colour prints) in 2013 and Tokyo in 2014.

Stephen retired from his position as Medical Photographer with Alberta Health Services in April 2015 and is quite happy to have his amateur status once again.

Instagram: @stephenwreakes