Stan Behal

More than two decades have passed since Stan Behal captured this poignant image on a cold, damp February afternoon on one of Toronto’s most beautiful boulevards: a caring moment in stark contrast to the busy world passing by, seemingly unaware and unmoved by the plight of the homeless.
This photograph helped launch and showcase PhotoSensitive’s first project, It’s In Their Eyes. Christopher Hume of the Toronto Star, in his review of the photo essay on Toronto’s hungry and homeless, wrote of the photo: “... a group huddles over a warm-air vent on University Avenue. Arranged like a scene from some baroque painting, these lost souls seem almost to hover in mid-air, gathering like a group of angels around the dying hero.”
Commissioned by Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank and the City of Toronto, the collection of images was credited with helping to achieve unimagined fundraising goals. “Although this project served to create awareness and understanding of the challenges facing the city’s homeless and poor, the challenges persist,” says Stan. “Photojournalists must continue to accept the task of telling picture stories that may disturb some but can act as a powerful catalyst to improve lives and the city in which we live.”

A staff photographer for the Toronto Sun since 1983, Stan Behal has covered subjects as diverse as fashion in Paris, to the Olympic Games, to the suffering of the Children of Chernobyl.
In 1988, Stan won the first sports photography National Newspaper Award for his picture of Ben Johnson beating Carl Lewis at the Olympic Games. In 1992 he was honoured by the United Nations Environment Programme for his Paradise Lost series on the Brazilian rainforest. In 1997 Stan won silver from the World Press Photo Award Foundation for sports photography, a Pictures of the Year Award of Excellence from the National Press Photographers Association, and his second citation of Merit from the National Newspaper Awards, all for a photograph of U.S. sprinter Gail Devers leaping into her coach’s arms at the 1996 Olympics.