Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is the largest photography event in the world. Running from the whole month of May, CONTACT will feature over 1,500 Canadian and international artists and photographers in more than 200 venues across Toronto. CONTACT will attract a staggering 1.8 million-plus visitors in 2014. Best part? It’s free!
“This is the most significant program in history, and for the first time ever we can be found at pretty much every large cultural institution in the city,” says CONTACT’s Executive Director, Darcy Killeen. “We also have 200 exhibitions this year with the most community exhibitions in history, signifying a true community grassroots festival for all.”
Established in 1997 as a not-for-profit organization, CONTACT now operates as a charity, devoted to fostering the art and profession of photography, increasing exposure for artists, and advancing knowledge, creativity, and innovation of the art form, according to their website.
Whether you’re connected to the craft or not (and anyone who owns a smartphone is undoubtedly a participant), CONTACT provides an ideal and affordable activity throughout the month. Here are some exhibits worth checking out…
40 Years – An Exhibition of Hip Hop Portraits
From Biggie Smalls to Afrika Bumbaattaa, this installment at The Gladstone Hotel features portraits of some of the most iconic figures in the hip-hop industry as it has transformed from a “voice for the voiceless to a dominant global youth culture.”
The Sochi Project – An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus
Photographer Rob Hornstra and journalist Arnold van Bruggen have been collaborating since 2009, documenting the radical transition of the Baltic Sea town in preparation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Portraits – Gordon Parks
In 1947, Parks became the first African American photographer to shoot for Life magazine. Up until his death in 2006, Parks earned acclaim for his astute ability to capture some of the most seminal and simple moments in American culture. A Featured Exhibition of his work that reflects Parks’ “cross-cultural, poetic, and humanistic vision” will also run at the Nicholas Metivier Gallery.
Arctic Exposure – Photographs of Canada’s North
A vast expanse of our country – often deeply removed from the consciousness of the average Canadian – this exhibition is comprised of images shot between 1881 and 2013, revealing an ongoing fascination with the peoples, places, and mythologies of the North.
Whereabouts – Claudette Abrams
Exploring the lines between document and constructed storytelling, Abrams’ photographs address aspects of what presents itself in the mingling of people and places.
Toronto Street – Nick Kozak
Photographed during walks in Toronto’s west end, Kozak candidly captures images of individuals going about their day-to-day in a way that most would not stop to reflect upon.
Pictures from Paradise – A Survey of Contemporary Caribbean Photography
Amalgamating the works of 18 artists from seven Caribbean countries, the series detracts from the postcard image of the region to reveal the complex social, racial, political, and physical relationships and landscapes that exist within the Caribbean.
The Entire City Project – Royal Ontario Museum
Photographs that unfold like a text telling a story, Michael Award has ambitiously spent over a decade attempting to document the entire physical infrastructure of Toronto, using custom-built photographic equipment, custom software, and techniques adapted from military aerial reconnaissance photography. This installment, commissioned by the Royal Ontario Museum for its 100th Anniversary, captures this iconic Toronto institution in its entirety, from the galleries to the utility rooms.
Will you be checking out the CONTACT Photography Festival this month? Let us know which exhibits you’re dying to see in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.