Saturday, May 26, 2018

Contact Photography 2018

May 2018 - Toronto ON

This year CONTACT expands its scope across Toronto and presents a broad spectrum of physically and conceptually engaging forms of photography. In keeping with this commitment to multiplicity, the 2018 Festival catalogue cover has been produced as a series of four, with each one featuring a single work. The images by Richard Mosse, Felicity Hammond, Charlie Engman, and Shelley Niro represent highly distinctive approaches to the photographic medium, yet they can each be considered touchstones for areas of common ground that have come together through the process of developing the curated program.

I will add exhibits as I see them.

Allen Gardens - Guardians

King St. West - Hoods

Brookfield Place

Not The Actual Site by Marleen Sleeuwits
Marleen Sleeuwits is inspired by impersonal environments—places that could be anywhere and nowhere—such as vacant zones in airports, unoccupied corridors of hotels, and empty rooms in office buildings. The Netherlands-based artist is attracted to these non-spaces for the lack of impression they leave on people; her work focuses on finding ways of visualizing the identity of these voids and connecting to them in novel ways. Through structural contradiction, illusion, and the manipulation of scale, she aims to transform viewers’ awareness of their surroundings.

First Canadian Place

Barbara Cole is an award-winning Canadian photographer who is known for her distinct underwater photography. Cole has exhibited internationally and is extensively collected by both public and private institutions.

Cole has won prestigious awards such the Grand Prize at the Festival International de la Photographie de Mode in Cannes, and third prize at the International Photography Awards in New York. In 2012, the acclaimed documentary series Snapshot: The Art of Photography II featured an episode devoted exclusively to Cole’s photographic practice. Barbara Cole lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

Ryerson University
Click here for more at Ryerson.

We all know Niro from the AGO’s wry T-shirt series, but over her long career, the Mohawk artist from Six Nations Reserve has also brought her Indigenous feminist viewpoint to installation, film, painting, printmaking and more. Ryerson’s award survey includes sculptures, videos and cyanotypes with textiles and beading.


The Anishinabe artist’s abstract images use algorithms to combine photos of two monuments – the Egerton Ryerson statue and rocks in the skating pond – with flags of three First Nations. Mounted on the sidewalk around the statue and on the rocks, they offer a counter-narrative that acknowledges their Indigenous legacy.

Ryerson University CONTACT.

The Ryerson Image Centre’s glass façade features a a mural of key figures who helped establish the country’s national identity through their endeavours, diversity and resilience. This historical panorama includes 14 portraits: Margaret Atwood, John Candy, Leonard Cohen, Viola Desmond, Chief Dan George, Wayne Gretzky, Yousuf Karsh, k.d. lang, Marshall McLuhan, Oscar Peterson, Mary Pickford, Buffy Sainte-Marie, David Suzuki, and Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Arrayed across the RIC’s west and north façades, this is the west side.


Scrap Metal Gallery

MOM by Charlie Engman as part of Contact Photography Festival at Scrap Metal Gallery (11 Dublin, Unit E). Runs to June 16. 

A good model has an ineffable ability to feel free in front of a camera lens. For a young fashion photographer, finding a model to forge a trusting creative bond with can be hard. But what if that model turns out to be your mother?

After segueing from the world of dance to photography, New York City-based Charlie Engman began taking pictures of his mother, Kathleen McCain Engman, nearly 10 years ago. It started as a casual thing, with Engman having his mom try on designer clothes after a fashion shoot, or just documenting her day-to-day. It has since snowballed into an ongoing collaborative project and, now, the exhibition Mom, which debuted at Scrap Metal Gallery this month as part of the Contact Photography Festival.

Toronto Reference Library

Photographer and disability activist Cullen turns his eye and yours to the intersectionality of homelessness, poverty, and disability. Many of the subjects in these moving photographs began their journey due to mental or physical health problems or a tragic accident. Cullen’s photography documents current urban social issues and is reflective of his own lived experience and reality. He also captures the life-sustaining spark and endurance these men possess.

City Hall
Toronto’s Photo Laureate, Geoffrey James, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Prince Edward Viaduct with a Doors Open photo exhibition at City Hall. Twelve ground floor windows facing Nathan Phillips Square provide frames for Mr. James’s contemporary pictures of the bridge, paired with historic photos, circa 1917, by Arthur Goss, the City’s first official photographer. These monumental images capture one of Toronto’s most recognizable and iconic structures.

Looking at these photos from 1917 made me wonder how the subway train level was later created in the 1960s.

This fascinating website provided the answer Transit Toronto.

In terms of crossing the Don Valley, the TTC was fortunate to benefit from the foresight of a designer from the 1910s. Crossing the wide and deep Don Valley would have required an expensive bridge if it weren’t for Edmund Burke (architect) and Thomas Taylor (construction engineer) and their Prince Edward Viaduct. Spurred by the buzz around subway development in 1911, consulting engineers Jacob and Davies recommended to Burke and Thomas that a subway might run along Bloor Street in the future and the viaduct should have a provision for such a line. As a result, Thomas designed into the framework of his Bloor Street Bridge over the Don Valley a lower deck that could be used by subway trains crossing the valley. Underground streetcars were envisioned, but fortunately the designers did not stint on clearance. The Viaduct comprises three parts: two bridges and an embankment. On the west, the Rosedale section is 565 feet long and takes Bloor Street over the Rosedale Ravine. In the middle, the Bloor section travels along an embankment until it reaches the Don Valley, which is spanned by the 1620 foot Don section. The lower deck was available on both the Rosedale section and the Don section.

This proved a godsend to the TTC, as the only major change required (other than laying down reinforced concrete on the deck to house the trackbed) was at the west end of the Viaduct. Bloor Street’s bridge over the Rosedale Ravine, which is also part of the Viaduct, was also built with provision for a lower deck but this was unsuitable for the subway’s alignment. The sharp curve in Bloor Street at Parliament just west of the bridge would have been hard for subway cars to negotiate. As a result, the subway diverged from Bloor at Castle Frank, through Castle Frank station and onto the TTC’s own bridge over the Rosedale Ravine. This paled in comparison to what it would have cost to build a completely new bridge across the Don River for the subway.

TIFF - King St. West

Monnet’s dynamic large-scale mural, History shall speak for itself (2018), commissioned for the street-level windows of the TIFF Bell Lightbox, presents a collaged chronology of Indigenous female representation in filmmaking. Focusing on two ends of the spectrum, she interweaves archival film stills sourced from the National Film Board of Canada with a contemporary group portrait of Indigenous women working in the film industry. The black-and-white archival images typify traditional, Western methods of documenting Indigenous women involved in their various domestic tasks, disengaged from the camera. The contemporary image, by contrast, features a group of women looking directly at the lens, outfitted in Indigenous attire influenced by European aesthetics, and posed against a stark white background as if in a fashion shoot. The models include documentary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, Quebecois actress Dominique Pétin, costume designer Swaneige Bertrand, film student Catherine Boivin, as well as the artist and her sister.

Click on CONTACT in the tags below to see previous years' exhibits.


  1. Some fascinating, thought provoking works here.

  2. Wow! So much beautiful creativity in one place ~ thanks!

    Happy Day to you,
    C & Z


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