It's all about the image during Toronto's annual Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival www.scotiabankcontactphoto.com held across the city throughout the month of May.
Founded as a non-profit organization 15 years ago to promote the art of photography, CONTACT has grown into one of the largest such events in the world.
This year over 1,400 Canadian and international artists and photographers are showing at more than 200 exhibitions, public installations, films, lectures and workshops. To top it off, everything is free, although exhibits within museums such as the Royal Ontario Museum www.rom.on.ca can only be accessed with the normal admission fee.
The displays are as different as the artists, stretching from gritty photojournalism to grandiose essays, from fashion and architecture to very personal statements in black & white or day-glo colour.
Following the exhibits from indoor galleries to outdoor installations and through offices, libraries, cafes and institutions is a treat in itself as a purposeful way to explore the city's neighbourhoods. You'll be rubbing shoulders with just about anyone who enjoys photography, including serious collectors.
Scotiabank continues its heavyweight sponsor contribution this year with a $55,000 grant to an established Canadian artist, announced on May 18. Included among the many sponsors are BMW, Sotheby's, Toronto Tourism, Fashion Television, Blurb, Canon, Epson, Nikon, Henry's, Vistek and Toronto Life.
Photo displays are mainly clustered around downtown, along Queen Street West, the Distillery district, the Beaches plus Runnymede and the Junction area. I've found that walking and strategic use of a car, taxi or public transit between distant locations is the best plan for getting around.
For the past few years I've been getting together with a friend to walk the walks, discuss the images and finish the day with a good meal at some newly discovered restaurant. I bring my camera in order to make my own art-on-the-run images. No one minds anything being photographed; it's all about enjoying and appreciating. And you might just find inspiration for your own creations.
Pick up a catalogue of events and venues at CONTACT's office or at a number of participating galleries such as Pikto Gallery in the Distillery District, or go online for further information.
As one of a group of international professional photographers I spent a few days on a guided tour of the city which included a touristy day trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario. With frequent use of the Art Filters in my Olympus EP-2 and E-5 cameras I let loose and just had fun.
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1. Matisse Room breakfast - My own breakfast still life in the Matisse Room, Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville, the mid town hotel where I stayed before setting out to explore CONTACT from the Bloor/Yonge city center point.
90 Bloor Street East
2. Festival Launch Night, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA)
952 Queen Street West
3. "Weekend" - Billboard installation 'Weekend' by Alex Prager. The pigeon in the upper left of my photo was an unexpected additional link between art and reality.
Strachan Ave and Adelaide St West
4. 'Over here, over there' - Québec photographer Alain Paiement squats on his floor photos of rooms shot from above. 'Over here, over there' at Brookfield Place, Allen Lambert Galleria. The floor placement idea came from observing where people always look when using cellphones.
181 Bay Street
5. Lunch at Terroni - Photographers Dan Minor (Santa Fe NM) and Makoto Hirata (Toronto) discuss a new self-publishing app over lunch at Terroni restaurant.
57 Adelaide St East, Toronto
6. Avenue Patrice Lumumba - Print by South African photographer Guy Tillim of architectural decay in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, titled ‘Avenue Patrice Lumumba’, exhibited in the Toronto Design Exchange.
234 Bay St.
7. 'Men in Cities' - Sidewalk installation 'Men in Cities' by Robert Longo includes photo artist Cindy Sherman (right).
King St. West at John St.
8. 'Constellations' - Roberto Pellegriuzzi with his black and white 'Constellations' exhibit.
Leo Kamen Gallery
80 Spadina Ave. Suite 406
Toronto ON M5V 2J4
9. Jessica Eaton shares an exhibit titled 'The Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Parts' with Lucas Blalock.
80 Spadina Ave. Suite 310
Toronto ON M5V 2J4
10. Edward Burtynsky opens his large format 'Oil' exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum. Ed spent 12 years on the project, following the theme of petroleum from refineries to leisure to ship cutting yards in Bangladesh (pictured here).
100 Queen’s Park
11. Portfolio room, Gladstone Hotel. As part of the festival, the second floor of the hotel was set up for portfolio reviews during the first week. The Gladstone is a renovated 1899 self-styled arts hotel.
1214 Queen Street West
12. View - Activate your creative juices while touring CONTACT. This was the downtown view from my room at the Gladstone.
207 Queens Quay West, Suite 405
Toronto, ON Canada M5J 1A7
Gary Crallé is a Georgetown, Ontario based travel photographer who appreciates inspiration wherever he finds it.
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Gary Crallé is a seriously sociable travel photographer who appreciates wherever he is. With almost 70 countries under his travel belt it’s surprising he hasn’t put on weight. He likes to concentrate on what is good for the body and soul (history & culture, gastronomy, health & leisure) and the spirit within us (geography, self-discovery/adventure). Image-based stories are his passion.
Located: Georgetown Canada
Likes: photography, adventure, gastronomy, history, events, health & leisure