CONTACT is one of our favourite festivals for many reasons. First and foremost, it showcases beautiful, inspiring, and intriguing photography by photographers from across Canada and around the world. It also runs for the entire month of May (and beyond, in some cases) which means you have ample time to check out the exhibitions! Now in its 17th year, the festival’s theme for 2013 is Field of Vision, which focuses on a “shared interest in photography as a visual paradigm, one that structures how we imagine scenes, places, and events.” These are the 10 exhibitions and installations that caught our eye but be sure to check out the CONTACT website for a complete list. 


“Commissioned to focus his lens on Toronto for a site-specific installation, [British photographer Martin Parr] selected Pearson International Airport to present a collection of images based on his ongoing interest in travel andglobalization. For a number of years, he has cast a satirical gaze at tourism, consumerism, and the leisure lifestyle, often looking at issues around the consumption and culture of food. Here, Parr highlights his interest in how the foods we buy, cook, and eat reflect broader cultural values and mediate between local and international contexts. Enlivening the terminal’s moving sidewalks, his large-format images of food documented in Toronto and around the world reveal humour, irony, and no shortage of colour. Travellers encounter a dizzying gastronomic feast for the eyes, from the sickly-sweet hues of a whimsical, rainbow layer-cake to links of cured sausages glistening in the harsh light of Parr’s flash.” 

“Parr’s installation at Metro Hall repositions some of the photographs at Pearson International Airport, but with a tighter focus on the images of food he captured in Toronto. Vivid photographs of mass-produced items such as hot dogs and canned luncheon meat share space with mouth-watering ethnic dishes including tacos, gefilte fish, and poutine. Viewers are taken on a culinary tour of the city from Parr’s distinct perspective; his seductive collection of close-up photographs amuse, tantalize, and often repulse, offering a playful rumination on how a hungry person with their eyes set on eating might observe the diverse foods of Toronto.” 

Venue: Pearson International Airport, Terminal 1 & Metro Hall (King St. W. & John St.) 
Runs: April 24th-August 30th at Pearson; April 30th-June 2nd at Metro Hall 

Toronto Time 

“Toronto Time uses photo-based collages that digitally combine archival source material with modern-day images of the exact same locations, to examine the passing of time in Toronto. The city has seen many changes, both positive and negative, and Toronto Time communicates some of these changes by linking the past to the present. The collages interweave elements of the old and new and offer social commentary for the viewer.” 

Venue: Bezpala Brown Gallery (17 Church St.) 
Runs: April 27th-May 22th (Opening Reception: May 4th, 12-3 pm); Monday-Wednesday, 11-6 pm & Thursday-Saturday, 11-8 pm

Forever 27 

“An exhibition about music, youth, and the perils of celebrity, Forever 27 features a unique collection of candid and live performance images of the legendary ’27 Club’. Forever linked by their talent, fame, and deaths at the age of 27, members include Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison, all of whom passed away between 1969 and 1971. More recently, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse died at the same age.” 

Venue: Analogue Gallery (673 Queen St. W.) 
Runs: April 30th-May 31st (Opening Reception: May 1st, 6-11 pm); Tuesday-Saturday, 12-7 pm & Sunday, 12-5 pm


“Goodfellas Gallery and Hello Foto Inc. present a photographic response to the rising popularity of cellular phone photography. Displaying images taken with non-traditional cameras, Instagratification focuses on the significance of the individual over the machine.” 

Venue: Goodfellas Gallery (1266 Queen St. W.) 
Runs: May 1st-23rd (Opening Reception: May 3rd, 5-11:45 pm); Friday, 12-4 pm & Saturday-Sunday, 12-6 pm 

An Altered State 

“Montana, land of glaciers and rope-whirling cowboys, and the heart of conservative America, is unravelling. Homesteads and bone beds are being abandoned for big farming and big oil. Small towns wait for the frackers to arrive, and raising cattle is replaced by collecting land rent cheques. An Altered State starts a conversation about loss, beauty, fear, and shifts in values across Montana’s Great Divide, and along Route 2, in summer 2012.” 

Venue: Balzac’s Coffee (1 Trinity St., Distillery District) 
Runs: May 1st-31st; Monday-Saturay, 7 am-8 pm & Sunday, 8 am-7 pm 

Maclean’s: Face to Face 

“The years of training and dedication demanded of an Olympic athlete are captured in the coil of a muscle. The ethereal beauty of a movie star beguiles. The lines on a face are etched reminders of a life lived. The seriesMaclean’s: Face to Face is produced in conjunction with the Festival and includes work done for the magazine by iconic Canadian portrait photographers, including: Peter Bregg, Tony Fouhse, Yousuf Karsh, Rita Leistner, George Pimentel, John Reeves, Derek Shapton, Christopher Wahl, and Mark Zibert.” 

Venue: The Gladstone Hotel, 3rd & 4th Floor (1214 Queen St. W.) 
Runs: May 1st-31st (Opening Reception: May 2nd, 6-8 pm); Monday-Sunday, 12-5 pm 

Field of Vision

“Students from Parkdale Collegiate Institute were offered the opportunity to explore documentary photography and present their interpretations of the Festival theme, Field of Vision, as it represents their community. The resulting photographs are showcased across nine venues throughout Parkdale Village. This project is a collaborative effort between the Parkdale Village BIA, Parkdale Collegiate Institute teachers, and artist Jonathan Groeneweg.”

Venue: West End Food Co-op (1229 Queen St. W.), Common Sort (1414 Queen St. W.), Ground Level Café (1496 Queen St. W.), Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (1499 Queen St. W.), Boutique Café  (1542 Queen St. W.), West End Comics (1590 Queen St. W.), Chartreuse Style (1692 Queen St. W.), My Roll Life (1714 Queen St. W.), Go Lounge (1718 Queen St. W.)  
Runs: May 1st-31st (Opening Reception: May 4th, 6-9 pm at all locations); times vary by venue

In The Naked Light I Saw 

“In The Naked Light I Saw is a body of work produced over a nine-month journey during which [Gabriel] Thompson lived out of a backpack filled with film and cameras, and stayed with people he met en route. Thompson uses photography as a powerful tool to reflect upon his struggle to connect in a distant world and guide his search for identity and compassion. His photographs are haunting documents of those who inhabit the cities where he travels and the traces that they leave behind. Thompson explores street photography as an art form that is not about poverty, squalor, misery, or the disenfranchised; rather, these images capture the universality of the human condition.” 

Venue: Corkin Gallery (7 Tank House Lane, Distillery District) 
Runs: May 1st-31st (Opening Reception: May 3rd, 6-9 pm); Tuesday-Saturday, 10 am-6 pm & Sunday, 12-5 pm 

Rooms For Tourists 

“The nostalgic geometric faades and neon signs of motels are ubiquitous in small-town Canada. Intimately captured by award-winning photographer Saitz, Rooms for Tourists is a photographic exploration of the architecture, landscape, and changing social meaning of the Canadian mid-century motel. Shot over two years across five provinces, this photo essay visits the motel in present day, revealing the rise, fall, and resurrection of a now-elusive cultural icon.”

Venue: Vistek Downtown (496 Queen St. E.)

Runs: May 1st-31st (Artist Talk: May 15th, 1 pm); Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-6 pm & Saturday, 9:30 am-6 pm

Orion Tide 

“In keeping with Kelly Richardson’s interest in the language of cinema and science fiction, her latest video installation and large-scale photographic work, Orion Tide, features a desert landscape at night, dotted with what appear to be numerous spacecraft or vessels leaving planet earth. Their sheer number suggests that this might be a forced exodus from a place that has become barren, at a juncture in the distant future. Or is it the onset of contemporary space exploration on a grand scale?”

Venue: Birch Libralato Gallery (129 Tecumseth St.) 
Runs: May 2nd-June 8th (Opening Reception: May 2nd, 5-8 pm); Wednesday-Sunday, 11-5 pm