Toronto Contact Photography Festival — May 1–31 2010

Last week I spent 2 days gallery-hopping at theToronto Con­tact Pho­tog­ra­phy fes­ti­val. It’s always a treat to see so many pho­to­graphic works being exhib­ited at the same time. This fes­ti­val shows pho­tog­ra­phy work all around the city of Toronto (from local and Inter­na­tional artists) but it’s mostly con­cen­trated downtown.

Heidi Leverty - Tincarnation 13
Heidi Lev­erty — Tin­car­na­tion 13

I go to these events purely to see good pho­tog­ra­phy and to get inspired. I LOVE see­ing work that moves me even if it is out­side what I nor­mally con­sider to be ‘my’ sub­ject mat­ter. As with most pho­tog­ra­phy fes­ti­vals, the major­ity of the work doesnot appeal to me. Pho­tog­ra­phy for the most part is a one frame deal and if I have to look too hard for the deeper mean­ing, or work to see the great­ness of the shot, then for me the pho­to­graph makes me go “meh”. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sym­bol­ism, I love images laden with themes and I love dou­ble or triple mean­ings in an image but SHOW it to me. Don’t embed the gold too deeply in the image, make the gold shine. Don’t make me go back to a text on mythol­ogy with an obscurely titled pho­to­graph, show me some­thing uni­ver­sal that moves me now.

There were far too many exhi­bi­tions to see them all but I did see a good 20 exhi­bi­tions. I should say that I missed at least 3 shows purely because I could not find them.Her­man & Audrey is a show that I would have LOVED to have seen. I drove to address the on Duf­ferin, in fact I planned part of my day on that show since the gallery opened at 4pm.…nothing there to indi­cate any exhi­bi­tion there folks…and no phone num­ber either.

So here were the shows that intrigued me the most with a brief review:

-Bar­bara Probst — Expo­sures — This was a cool show; 12 cam­eras all set up in dif­fer­ent loca­tions, pho­to­graph the same scene from dif­fer­ent angles. The result­ing large scale pho­tographs all taken at the same moment, are pre­sented in an inter­est­ing and cohe­sive way. 1450 Dun­das St. W — 416–537-3125

-The Skin you Love to Touch — Jodi Bieber, Lau­ren Green­field, Zed Nel­son — I thought this one was very intrigu­ing show­ing the ‘skins’ of very dif­fer­ent peo­ple and their rela­tion to mar­ket­ing, con­sumerism, per­cep­tion and self-perception. 80 Spad­ina suite 310

Ben Ng -Exposed: Per­va­sive Influ­ence — Glad­stone Hotel on the sec­ond floor ( a great venue at 1214 Queen St. W. with MANY exhi­bi­tions). I found Ben’s land­scapes extremely well done and very strik­ing. In par­tic­u­lar the print­ing qual­ity is just fab­u­lous. Most of the images were hand-painted; mean­ing they started off as black and white images and then selected parts were hand-painted. It looked to me like they were hand-painted old school (as opposed to doing this much more eas­ily in Pho­to­shop) which means that you apply paint to the actual photograph.

My fave — Some­times you’ll walk into a Gallery that is show­ing one main artist and other artists intrigue you even more. This is what hap­pened atBau-Xi Photo with their main exhi­bi­tion At this Moment by Zoe Jare­mus, which over­all, I liked. Bau-Xi is located at 324 Dun­das tel # 416–977-0400 and their gallery was my favorite stop of the entire exhi­bi­tion. I dis­cov­ered 2 artists there whose work struck me imme­di­ately;Heidi Lev­erty (whose image is fea­tured in this post) andAnthony Red­path. Heidi’s work is AWESOME and has tremen­dous impact. She only had 2 (large — around 32 x40 inches) images that were exhib­ited but Robyn who works at the gallery showed me some addi­tional work. Her work depicts large scale recy­cled mate­ri­als pre­sented in an abstract yet extremely com­pelling way. Anthony’s work was even larger in scale and his exhib­ited image Trailer Park Party (64.5 x 96 inches) is excel­lent and incred­i­bly sharp. Spe­cial thanks toRobyn McCal­lum for the extra infor­ma­tion she gave me.

My apolo­gies to all the artists whose work I missed. If you are read­ing this and want to send me some links to your work, I’m all eyes. Spe­cial thanks toJoe Cormier who gallery-hopped (lit­er­ally — he has a sore leg) with me on day 1. He also showed some fab work at this fes­ti­val atMoos Gallery.


  1. This Heidi Lev­erty image is very intrigu­ing. are they pieces of metal?

Speak Your Mind