Boris SpremoBy Stefanie Phillips, RSJ ’18

A new Ryerson School of Journalism award has been created in memory of acclaimed Toronto Star photojournalist Boris Spremo, who died in August at the age of 81.

The Boris Spremo Photojournalism Award, initiated by his family and valued at $1,000, will assist a deserving undergraduate student from the RSJ photojournalism course. Spremo, who received 285 national and international photojournalism awards, was also a recipient of the Order of Canada.

“We have had a dedicated photojournalism class for years, yet no accompanying award. This anomaly is rectified with the donation of this generous prize,” said Jagg Carr-Locke, chair of the awards committee. “Now we can properly recognize and reward the best work of our talented photojournalism students.”

During his 40-year photojournalism career, Spremo covered many local, national and global events, including the construction of the CN Tower, the Vietnam War and Terry Fox’s run across Canada. He captured iconic images of Pierre Trudeau, Muhammad Ali and Fidel Castro, in addition to dozens of other celebrities and politicians.

Veteran news photographer and RSJ instructor Peter Bregg worked alongside Spremo on many occasions during Bregg’s time at the Canadian Press.

“He was a god to me,” Bregg said. “He had the spirit. He had the imagination. He had the passion. He lived to take pictures. He was the kind of guy you just wanted to be nice to and he was nice to you. … He really drew people in.”

The criteria for the award has not been finalized, but it will require students to submit their best photojournalism work.