“Phil Bergerson set the tone for both students and young artists in Toronto’s photography scene during the 70’s and 80’s. As his student, and later as a young and struggling artist, I benefitted immeasurably from the rich learning environment he established for us at Ryerson. Phil nurtured an expansive perspective about looking at art and making art. The international array of photographers, curators, and critics he brought to Toronto helped me and my peers broaden our horizons and move past our provincial views about the art world. This influence made itself apparent in my burgeoning art practice, and it was this exposure that encouraged me to consider the possibility of succeeding as an artist. Meanwhile, the inclusive sense that Phil fostered through his 1979 Canadian Perspectives conference created a national cultural awareness that gave us all an understanding of the wide-ranging Canadian art community that we should and could engage with.
"Phil was able to accomplish all of this while still being a role model. Throughout, he remained dedicated to his own art practice, generating his own intriguing photographs and book projects. His lead encouraged us all to press on with our own careers in a similarly energetic manner. Phil’s teaching style, a deep understanding of art history and all forms of art, was delivered with intelligence, wit, and humour. He was a great inspiration for all who were fortunate enough to work with him.”
Edward Burtynsky, Photographer