CONTACT Photography Festival to showcase culture, fashion, art

April 10, 2014

The Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is back this year with a new theme and line-up.

The festival showcases more than 1,500 artists and photographers every year at more than 175 sites across the Greater Toronto Area. CONTACT is the largest photography event in the world with over 1.8 million spectators.

The artists and festival intend to illustrate the theme of identity through various primary exhibitions, public installations, featured exhibitions, open exhibitions, portfolio reviews, workshops and lectures.

“CONTACT’s 2014 thematic programming highlights the relationship between identity and photography, by focusing on images that explore individual and collective attributes,” says Bonnie Rubenstein, artistic director of the festival.

Artistic pieces done by Canadian and international artists and photographers will challenge, question and support the theme of identity, by exploring issues ranging from character and nationality, to migration and sexuality.

The powerful use of imagery can often explain and speak about a culture’s fashion and beauty. Some of the participants present fashion and beauty through a specific culture’s colourful clothes or stylized portraits.

One of the public exhibitions is Hereros from Jim Naughten. This collection of images shows the “Victorian-era” fashion the Herero people of Nambia keep as part of their identity. Public exhibitions will include nine site-specific galleries put together in urban spots around Toronto, showing a connection between identity and photography.

Among many other events the festival has open-call exhibitions, where more than 350 artists will be displaying their cultural identity photographs across 144 venues in the community.

The CONTACT Photography Festival runs from May 1 to 31, 2014.

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Header image credit: Ebony G Patterson, Entourage, 2011.



By Jessica Filoso
Photography by Gordon Parks, Jim Naughten, Ebony G Patterson, Stacy Tyrell, Dominique Ray and Varial Cedric Houin

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