CONTACT Photography Festival 2013

Devoted to celebrating and fostering the art and profession of photography through a diverse range of programmes, the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is an annual event throughout the month of May with over 1500 Canadian and international artists and photographers exhibiting at more than 175 venues throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

CONTACT increases exposure and recognition for local, Canadian and international artists, the Festival is committed to advancing knowledge, creativity and innovation in photography. CONTACT is the largest photography event in the world, and a premiere cultural event in Canada.

Each year the Festival presents a different theme and this year's theme is Field of Vision. 'Exploring the photographic medium as a way of seeing, Field of Vision, frames a series of primary exhibitions and public installations. In museums and galleries, on city streets and subway platforms, these presentations reveal a shared interest in photography as a visual paradigm, one that structures how we imagine scenes, places, and events. CONTACT 2013 situates photography as an expansion of sight, where the camera’s field of view extends the eye’s field of vision.'

With a variety of exhibitions: Primary, Featured, Open, and Public Installations, here are a few in each category that caught our eye.

Primary Exhibitions
Within museums and galleries, ten major shows spanning the history of photography reveal images from across the globe.

Erik Kessels, 24hrs in Photography, Installation at Foam Amsterdam, 2011, Photo: Gijs van den Berg
Erik Kessels, 24hrs in Photography, Installation at Foam Amsterdam, 2011, Photo: Gijs van den Berg

24hrs in Photography

24hrs in Photography explores our shifting relationship to photography during a hypermediated era, in which inter- net users are bombarded with images on a daily basis. Erik Kessels’ immersive installation of vernacular photography, originally conceived for the exhibition What’s Next at Foam (2011), reveals how the limited frame of a computer screen can present an expansive view of the world. An indeterminable number of freely circulating images depict a multitude of people, places, and events across the globe.

Featured Exhibitions
In galleries across the city, 32 selected exhibitions present works by artists from around the world.

Danny Lyon, Crossing the Ohio, Louisville. 1063-1967
Danny Lyon, Crossing the Ohio, Louisville. 1063-1967

The Bikeriders

The Bikeriders features a selection of photographs by Danny Lyon, one of the most important documentary photographers and filmmakers to come of age in the 1960s. These images chronicle the activities of the motorcycle world from 1963–67. Lyon documented the life of the American bikerider in the Midwest from the seat of his Triumph motorcycle, equipped with a Nikon, a Rolleiflex, and a seven-pound portable tape recorder. The resulting black-and-white images provide a window into the rough, counterculture lifestyles of bikers on the road.

Open Exhibitions
Through an open call to participate, more than 1500 artists exhibit their work at over 124 venues.

Barrie Wentzell, Jimi Hendrix, 1967

Forever 27

An exhibition about music, youth, and the perils of celebrity, Forever 27 features a unique collection of candid and live performance images of the legendary “27 Club.” Forever linked by their talent, fame, and deaths at the age of 27, members include Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison, all of whom passed away between 1969 and 1971. More recently, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse died at the same age.

Curated by Lucia Graca.

Public Installations
Throughout Toronto and across Canada, site-specifc project challenge the way we interact with photography in our physical environment. 

Martin Parr / Magnum Photos
Martin Parr / Magnum Photos


Martin Parr’s installation at Metro Hall repositions some of the photographs at Pearson International Airport, but with a tighter focus on the images of food he captured in Toronto. Vivid photographs of mass-produced items such as hot dogs and canned luncheon meat share space with mouth-watering ethnic dishes including tacos, gefilte fish, and poutine. Viewers are taken on a culinary tour of the city from Parr’s distinct perspective; his seductive collection of close-up photographs amuse, tantalize, and often repulse, offering a playful rumination on how a hungry person with their eyes set on eating might observe the diverse foods of Toronto.

The Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival runs from May 1-31, 2013 in Toronto.


Feature Photo: Chris Marker, Sun Eclipse (Paris). n.d., Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery, New York


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