Jim Breukelman

Professor Emeritus

Emily Carr University of Art and Design


Jim Breukelman is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, where he majored in photography under Harry Callahan and minored in graphic design under Malcolm Greer and Dieter Roth. In 1967, he was hired by the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design) to plan and implement a diploma program in fine art photography. Under Breukelman’s guidance, the new program developed into a four-year degree program that was one of the first in Canada to incorporate both traditional and cross-disciplinary practices. From 1967 to 2000, in his various roles as photography instructor, department head of photography, and dean of media arts, Breukelman had a significant influence on the development of photographic art and artists in Vancouver, while also continuing his own artistic practice. In the summer of 2012, Breukelman’s Hot Properties photographs were included in the National Gallery of Canada exhibition Flora and Fauna: 400 Years of Artists Inspired by Nature, curated by Ann Thomas. This series, which was acquired by the National Gallery (NGC) for its collection, was also included in their Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012, and one image from the series was selected for Canada Post’s inaugural suite of stamps (a 5-year program) celebrating the history of Canadian photography (2013). The NGC has also acquired work from Breukelman’s Mesocosm series. In 2013, Breukelman produced an outdoor mural work for Vancouver’s City Centre metro station—a five-part piece entitled Fish Ladder: Salmon in the Capilano that was commissioned by the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Program. “In spite of the knowledge base we have amassed about salmon, there are still important aspects of their life that remain unknown. For me, that is the beauty of wildness and wilderness—its potential for surprise and conjecture.” In 2017, Breukelman was one of seventy-one Canadian photographers included in the NGC exhibition, ‘Photography in Canada: 1960-2000’.