Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival

by Photo Life

Charles “Teenie” Harris. Schenley High School students, 1945. Gelatin silver print. 8 x 10, © Carnegie Museum of Art

Throughout the month of May, Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival in Toronto is presenting exhibitions with work by more than 1500 Canadian and international artists as well as an extensive programme of workshops, panel discussions, lectures, talks, panels, symposiums, portfolio reviews, site-specific public art projects and more!

This year will also include the inaugural CONTACT Photobook Fair at Stephen Bulger Gallery on May 6 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m). More than 20 independent publishers and contemporary photographers will be there, so it’s a great opportunity to discover new photobooks! CONTACT Program Director Tara Smith explained, “This event was conceived with the desire to create a space for practitioners and book enthusiasts to build connections, discover new projects, and exchange ideas on books and photography.”

CONTACT Artistic Director Bonnie Rubenstein said, “We are elated to have the work of Canadian and international artists such as Richard Mosse, Felicity Hammond, Dana Claxton, Sofia Mesa, Charlie Engman, Awol Erizku, John Edmonds, Caroline Monnet, Shelley Niro, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Piero Martinello, Trevor Paglen, Sophia Al Maria, Laurie Kang, Aida Muluneh, Wang Yishu and Marleen Sleeuwits.”

Some Festival Highlights

Felicity Hammond’s primary exhibition at CONTACT gallery and public installation at 416 King West
The UK-based artist has disrupted the world of photography by creating immersive photo-sculptural installations, colliding the worlds of physical and digital. Her works are a deep exploration of concepts of privacy and publicity, our relationships with landscapes and more.

Richard Mosse – Heat Maps; Arsenal Gallery
In the chaotic and polarizing new era of Brexit, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump and other signs of a radical shift to the extreme right, this project charts the refugee crisis unfolding across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Mosse has documented refugee camps and staging sites using an extreme telephoto military-grade camera that can detect body heat at great distance. The camera is used against its intended purpose of border and combat surveillance to map landscapes of human displacement. Reading heat as both metaphor and index, these images reveal the harsh struggle for survival lived daily by millions of refugees and migrants, seen but overlooked, and ignored by many.

Charlie Engman – MOM; Scrap Metal Gallery
The renowned international photographer’s favourite model and muse, his mother, stars in a series of radical portraits, showcasing a deep exploration of the relationship.

Awol Erizku – billboards across Toronto
The photographer behind the famous photo of Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement will showcase his work via a few public art pieces during this year’s festival. Awol Erizku’s works spread across a wide range of platforms including photography, film, and sculpture. His intentions are to create an aesthetic that highlights on the meagerness of blacks throughout art history through works that mimic a classical oeuvre while integrating people of colour.

Check out the event schedule here and the exhibition listings here!

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Woman, possibly Barbara Jones, posed next to car on Mulford Street, Homewood, 1937. Gelatin silver print. © Carnegie Museum of Art

Felicity Hammond, Simulated Ruins, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Felicity Hammond, Simulated Ruins, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.


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