Photo by Richelle Forsey
Who Martin Reis, photographer, visual artist and documenter of Toronto's bike scene; member of Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists (ARC)
Claim to fame When he's not recording our cycling history, you mean? It's delivering art telegrams on a bicycle as Martin de la Rue, a Jacques Tati-style 1950s French postman.
Reis's work has appeared in most Toronto newspapers and magazines, including NOW for more than a decade, plus a dozen online publications. He strives to inform and even to add a little levity to the bike debate, although that's not always possible.
Sometimes there's no getting around how dangerous cycling can be. Few of Reis's images have touched a nerve like his early-morning photos of the hit-and-run on Davenport that killed schoolteacher Tom Samson in November. Those photos struck the balance photographers look for, telling the story without exploiting the fact that someone had just been killed. Last year proved the deadliest for cyclists in recent T.O. history.
We can continue to have conversations about cycling, Reis says, but it's images that change attitudes. Just ask the truckers who, after brushing Reis off, got called into the boss's office to answer to the photographic evidence.
When he's not logging the bike scene, Reis is also an organizer of Toronto's Ride of Silence and the Blessing of the Bicycles, the annual anointing of two-wheeled machines at Trinity-St. Paul's United Church.
Words to ride by
"Every turn of the pedal is a revolution."
Peddling these days
His first ebook of fiction, The Other Side Of Grace, an "inconvenient" book about cycling in Toronto. Also, he's working on a documentary project with Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten. Reis's website: tino.ca.