Dick Loek

This picture of Edmond Yu was taken by Dick Loek at Toronto’s Scott Mission during a Christmas dinner for the homeless. At first, seeing him praying over a tea light, Dick thought he was a monk.
A few months later, Edmond, who struggled with schizophrenia and had been in and out of hospitals for more than a decade, was shot dead by police. He had threatened officers with a hammer on a TTC bus.
This photo was published many times in newspapers as the treatment of the mentally ill by the police came under discussion. The inquest that ensued led to the creation of the Toronto Police Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams, which include a psychiatric nurse, and also the creation of a special crisis resolution course that teaches every frontline officer how to deal with people in mental distress. The inquest also inspired stronger links between the police and the mental health community and greater consultation with psychiatric patients, who helped develop training scenarios.

Born in Amsterdam, Dick Loek came to Canada in 1962. He began his career at the Toronto Telegram, where he became the Chief Photographer. His photography column for the Tely, Dick Loek’s Women, was a first for Canadian Newspapers. He became the Chief Photographer at the Toronto Star shortly after his start in 1971. He is a two-time runner up for the National Newspaper Awards in Sports Photography. His career has taken him around the world, covering news events and annual fashion shows in Milan, Paris and New York. He is a member of PhotoSensitive, a non-profit collective of Toronto photographers determined to explore how photography can contribute to social justice around the world.
His great loves are sailing the Great Lakes, skiing and canoeing in Algonquin Park. Even after retirement from the Toronto Star he still loves taking pictures.