Every spring for the past 27 years, Toronto has become an epicentre of incredible photography thanks to the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. This year, the city’s world-renowned festival unites the lens-based work of nearly 100 Canadian and international artists across 58 sites in its core program alone and includes pieces from over 330 artists total, spanning the month of May, with some exhibitions and events running into the summer and beyond. If you haven’t yet had an opportunity to experience events, exhibitions, and installations, don’t fret—there’s still plenty to see and do at the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival.
The festival has presented outdoor installations for the last 21 years, and they are some of the most accessible works on offer—you might not even have to get out of your car to see some of the art. This year, Contact has installed 21 outdoor projects in spaces typically reserved for advertisements such as subway platforms and billboards. With works from artists including Farah Al Qasimi, Hélène Amouzou, Genesis Báez, Robert Burley, and Maïmouna Guerresi, the installations will be on view until May 31 across the city.
Bringing together work from 10 artists, Where to Now examines how human creativity influences photography through techniques such as perspective, collage, and lens distortion, and explores how artificial intelligence will affect the future of the craft. Featuring Nicolas Blanchet, Djeneba Aduayom, and Rachel Wolf, Where to Now is on view at Cultural Goods Gallery until July 29.
Celebrated Korean Canadian photographer Jin-me Yoon has returned to the festival after winning the Scotiabank Photography Award last year. Her new exhibition at the Image Centre explores themes consistent throughout her career, including inequality, prejudice, and environmental destruction. For a personal insight from the artist, join her on June 14 for a virtual conversation at the Image Centre. Opened at the end of April, the show runs until August.
Award-winning queer filmmaker and photographer Bruce LaBruce will join AGO curator Bojana Stancic on June 2 for a conversation about his work Through his career, LaBruce has released 14 feature films, several shorts, and recently, two photography books that collate his most subversive and powerful images. Tickets for the talk at AGO’s Jackman Hall can be purchased at the AGO website.
Canadian visual artist Maggie Groat takes over Contact with work on display at Contact Gallery, on billboards, and at the Harbourfront Centre parking pavilion. The colourful newly commissioned work uses found and salvaged materials and images to create large collage pieces that explore environmental fragility and decolonization. Her pieces can be seen until June 17 at the Contact Gallery.
For his video project at Trinity Square Video, Trinidadian artist Rodell Warner uses images in the public domain from the New York Public Library to create distorted abstract GIFs. The artist explores forgotten snapshots of African diaspora history through this intimate and poignant project. Heirlooms & Lenses is on view until June 24.
To experience the future of photography in Canada, stop by Arsenal Contemporary, where the work of this year’s three winners of the New Generation Photography Award is on display. Each of the emerging Canadian lens-based artists, Reyes Rodriguez, Hannah Doucet, and Wynne Neilly, aged 35 or younger, shows artistic maturity and talent. Expect themes of human relationships, childhood illness, and the evolution of photography in this exhibition, on until June 17.