Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival: The Exhibitions We’ve Got our Eyes On 

May isn’t just for flowers – it’s also for CONTACT! The annual photography festival runs for the entire month of May, with over 1000 local, national and international artists exhibiting at more than 200 venues making up the largest photography event in the world. Focusing on our relationship to the environment, Scotiabank CONTACT 2011: Figure & Ground is a look at how photography alters perception, informs knowledge and uncovers meaning. Here are some of the exhibitions that we’re anxious to see.  

With Us at Every Age
Curated by the students in Ryerson’s School of Image Arts, this exhibition explores our relationship with animals, from the innocence of childhood to the comforts of old age. With images spanning the history of photography, it aims to reveal how the lives of humans and animals intersect by touching upon our intimate, working and objective connections to them. 
April 13-May 7 at IMA Gallery, 80 Spadina Ave., Suite 305. Opening reception May 5 from 6-9 pm.  

Alex Prager is a self-taught artist hailing from the epitome of celebrity culture in L.A. whose photographs feature women dressed as starlets and femme fatales within cinematic melodramas. Each photograph in this exhibition tells its own unique story but when viewed together, they come across as film stills from incomplete narratives reminiscent of the classic Hollywood era, complete with supersaturated colours, dramatic lighting, unexpected camera angles and archetypal representations of beauty. Surrounded by a car dealership and autobody shop, the site-specific installations aims to evoke nostalgia for a time when film screenings were enjoyed at the drive-in theatre.  
April 25-June 4 at Billboards, Strachan Ave. and Adelaide St. W.  

Dynamic Landscape
Through the work of four international artists, this exhibition looks at the confluence of physical and psychological factors that inform our perception of the world we inhabit. From Africa’s sands to Canada’s arctic north to the streets of India – each photograph creates a narrative that looks at the relationship between humanity and nature.  
April 30-June 5 at Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Main Space), 952 Queen St. W. Opening reception April 29 from 7-10 pm.  

States of Undress: The Big Easy
Photographer Nicolette Potter spent several years living in New Orleans and apprenticing with jazz photographer Herman Leonard, and this exhibition is an undercover look (literally) at the city and the women she spent time knowing and playing with. Shot in black and white, the photographs raise the question of whether these women are incidental to New Orleans, or vice versa; evoking the personas of sex and magic.  
May 1-31 at The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave. Opening reception May 1 from 6-9 pm.  

Lomographic Society
The Lomographic Society is a globally-active organization dedicated to experimental and creative analogue snapshot photography. They pride themselves on capturing the moment and having fun with cameras; their images characterized by vibrant colours, shadowy framing, unique effects and spontaneity, capturing everything from animals to architecture to intimate moments between friends.  
May 1-31 at Lomography Gallery Store, 536 Queen St. W. Opening reception May 1 from 6-10 pm. 

Photographs are notoriously nostalgic in nature and this exhibition pays tribute to their ability to act as a place of departure. Through unique processes, artists Maihyet Burton and Marjolyn Van der Hart create images with layers and emotion that draw on their conscious and unconscious minds. With water representing the emotional landscape, the layers create a relationship to memory and dreams.  
May 1-31 at Balzac’s Coffee in the Distillery District, 55 Mill St., Building 6. Opening reception May 7 from 3-6 pm.  

Framed in NYC
Photographer Janis Rees took to the streets of New York City to explore the Gestalt theory and capture the energy, beauty and life of is people and landscape. Her images demonstrate the essence of the city, with every avenue ventured, every street walked and every borough visited. 
May 1-31 at Kaleidoscope Photography, 2990 Dundas St. W. Opening reception May 7 from 6-9 pm.  

Shot by Caitlin Cronenberg, daughter of director David Cronenberg, RED features interventions and re-imaginings of eight images selected from the NY Times Canadian Photography Archive. A dramatic narrative on how Americans have historically viewed Canadian cultures and how Canadians in turn view themselves, the exhibition uses digital alterations, salvaged barnwood frames and remote-controlled lightboxes to create a unique experience that goes beyond the photographs themselves. 
May 5-28 at KWT Contemporary, 624 Richmond St. W. Opening reception May 5 from 7-9 pm. 

For a full list of exhibitions, check out the CONTACT website: http://scotiabankcontactphoto.com

~ Photo from Dynamic Landscape
~ Caitlyn Holroyd 

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