Contrast Canadian Photographic Works

This afternoon, I caught an Inside Out screening at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. As I was waiting in line, I found myself standing outside of the inaugural Contrast Canadian Photographic Works exhibit. Of course I had to go in and check it out. Inside I was greeted by Fabrice Strippoli who was one of the ten featured photographers and curator of the group show.

Strippoli explained to me how CCPW is a boutique photo agency that specializes in commercial projects and fine art photography. Unlike your regular gallery show, the work was staggered and grouped all over the bare concrete brick walls, in various sizes and framing. But even in this no frills fashion, the work was strong enough to pop off the walls and hold their own. CCPW features the work of Shawna Eberle, Alex Filotti, Mark Hesselink, Jean-François Bouchard, Justin Kingsley, Paul Labonté, Richard Marazzi, Martin Mraz, Nicolette Potter and Fabrice Strippoli.

With CONTACT coming to a close in a couple of days, it’s not to late to go down to the King street location to check out the work. The gallery will be open on Sunday from Noon to 8pm and on Tuesday from 11am to 7pm. While you are there, make sure you take a moment to check out their camera obscura which is setup to show you a view of the bustling King Street view in a away you have never seen before.

Contrast Canadian Photographic Works (CCPW)
May 1–31
356 King St W

Take Stroll in the Junction

For some, the Junction may seem off the beaten track, but the neighbourhood is full of amazing eateries, wonderful antique shops and even has a Starbucks now, so you know it’s one of those up and coming areas. This historic strip along Dundas Street West, just north of High Park, between Quebec Ave and Keele St. is the home of over 20 CONTACT exhibits this year. Every year the Junction BIA does a wonderful job of showcasing photography in a partnership with many of the local businesses in the area. What I find most impressive is that the BIA actually has these prominent red CONTACT signs outside of all the participating venues, making it super easy to find each exhibit.

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Structure And Symmetry – Vision And Voices

Earlier this month, I wandered to the east end of the city to check out some CONTACT shows. Among them was the Dieter Hessel show, Structure and Symmetry at Heliographics.

Upon initial view, you are presented with a wonderful series of architectural and landscape images from Toronto and Chicago. But what you don’t realize is that you are looking at HDR images, High Dynamic Range. HDR is a technique were you merge a number of differently exposed shots, to create a shot that has greater and equal luminance between the lighter and darker areas of an image.

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of HDR photography, and usually I’m not a big fan, because often it is not done very well. When I first visited this exhibit, I wasn’t actually aware that the images were HDR, it wasn’t until a week later, when I had brunch with a couple of friend’s did I realize that the show was HDR, when they tipped me off to that fact. Hessel does an masterful job with merging his images, which results in a natural and pleasing look. If you are in the market for a shot of Toronto to hang in your home, I’d highly suggest checking out his work.

Hessel’s exhibit Structure and Symmetry is showing at Heliographics until May 31st. While you are in the east end of the city, may I also suggest checking out Vision & Voices at Brayham Contemporary Art. The exhibit which runs until June 5th is a group showcase of photographs from 11 women in the sex industry in Portland OR. It gives the viewer a personal glimpse into the lives of these interesting women.

Structure and Symmetry
May 1–31
1238 Queen St E Unit H
Toronto, M4L 1C3
Wed, Thu, Sat & Sun 12 – 5pm
Fri 12 – 7pm
(416) 466 2685

Brayham Contemporary Art
Vision and Voices
April 30–June 5
1318 Queen St E
Toronto, M4L 1C5
Fri 2 – 7pm
Sat & Sun 12 – 5pm
(647) 435 7367

NOTE: I’ve been corrected, none of the work in this exhibit were HDR

Boreal Collective – Bau-Xi Photo

I was fortunate enough to stop in the Bau-Xi Photo gallery on Dundas West across from the AGO earlier today, where I checked out the various work of the Boreal Collective. One of the featured exhibitions in CONTACT, this exhibit teams together the work of five photojournalist who documented various social injustices nationally, in a compelling visual narrative.

Ian Willms and Aaron Vicent Elkaim tackle issues of environmental nature in their work, the Alberta Tar Sands and Sarnia’s petrochemical industry, respectively. Brett Gundlock and Jonathan Taggart spotlight family issues, new immigrants to Toronto and foster care in First Nation family. While Rafal Gerzsak examines the notoriety of a stretch of road in British Columbia where dozens of women have gone missing in the last half century.

The exhibition was originally running until May 13th, so I initially thought I missed it, but I found out that today is in fact the last day of this exhibition. You’ve got two hours!

CONTACT: Films on Photography

One of the great things about CONTACT, is that you don’t even have to leave your home to enjoy it. TVO has partnered with CONTACT to present 6 new films about photography. Tomorrow night, They are showing Disfarmer: A Portrait of America and Thursday they are showing Karsh is History. The other four films in the series have already aired, but don’t fret, cause those fine folks at TVO have put them online for us to enjoy.

So if you haven’t seen them yet, invite some friends over, pop some popcorn and have a films on photography marathon.