About the Festival

What are the dates for the 2016 Festival?
CONTACT is an annual Festival that occurs throughout the month of May. The Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016, and will launch at the AGO on April 27.  

Where does CONTACT take place?
CONTACT exhibitions, installations and events take place in many different locations across the Greater Toronto Area. 

Is there a cost to attend the Festival?
CONTACT Festival exhibitions are free to attend, with a few exceptions at museums that charge general admission, such as the ROM and the AGO. Individual workshops often require pre-registration and payment. The majority of the Festival’s programming is 100% free.

What is a Primary Exhibition/Featured Exhibition/Open Exhibition?
A Primary exhibition is programmed and produced through partnerships between the Festival and museums, non-profit arts organizations, or other large institutions. A Featured Exhibition is independently organized and selected by a jury through a call for submissions. An Open Exhibition is independently organized, and non-juried—all exhibitions that register are welcome to take part in the Festival. 

Are you looking for volunteers or interns?
CONTACT engages volunteers in the 2-3 months leading up to the Festival on an as-needed basis. Email volunteer@scotiabankcontactphoto.com to apply. Currently, we do not have any internship opportunities.

Where & when can I get a CONTACT magazine?
CONTACT magazines and guides become available in late April, and are free of charge at the CONTACT Gallery, 80 Spadina Ave., Suite 205. These materials are also distributed free at all Festival venues around the city, but tend to run out quickly!

If you would like a magazine mailed to you, you can purchase it through our online store when they become available.

How to Participate

What is the difference between an Open Exhibition and a Featured Exhibition? Why would I choose one over the other?
Open Exhibitions are non-juried and therefore open to all interested participants. More details are available here.

Featured Exhibitions are subject to a more detailed submission process, which is outlined here. Featured Exhibitions are highlighted more prominently in the magazine and website, and are eligible for The Gattuso Prize, a $5,000 award that acknowledges an outstanding exhibition in the Festival.

How do I become a Featured Exhibition?
To be considered as a Featured Exhibition, you must send a proposal to us by November 16, 2015. Proposals are reviewed and juried by CONTACT and decision letters will be sent out in December. 

Please note that you must also follow the same registration process as an Open Exhibition. 

What happens if my show is not selected as a Featured Exhibition?
Provided that you have registered the exhibition on the CONTACT website, your exhibition is still an important part of the Festival and will be included in the Open Exhibition category.

Does the artist or venue complete the online registration form and pay the fee?
Either artist or venue, not both, can register the exhibition. The artist and venue must decide this between them.

Does my exhibition have to run for the whole month of May?
No, your exhibition does not have to run for the entire month. We require that your exhibition runs through the majority of May. Exhibitions can begin before or after May 1, and end before or after May 31. Note that the CONTACT magazine is published in late April; please consider this if planning an event that takes place prior to May 1.

How does the registration process work for group exhibitions?
One person from the group should be the point of contact for the exhibition, and register using their own email address. The process is then the same as for registering a solo exhibition. There is a section of the registration form that allows for multiple artist names to be entered.

For magazine listings, if your exhibition has more than 10 artists, only last names will be listed. For exhibitions with 15 artists or more, “group exhibition” will be used instead of names. All artist names will appear in full in the magazine index and website profile.

How does the registration process work for not-for-profit organizations?
Not-for-profit organizations follow the same process as other registrants, but simply indicate that they are an NFP when creating a user profile when registering. Not-for-profit organizations are able to take advantage of our Early Registration Rate for the entire registration period and are not subject to the Regular Registration Rate that takes effect.

I have a venue and would like to participate in the Festival. Will CONTACT assign me an artist?
It is the responsibility of the venue to find a photographer and then register as an exhibition with CONTACT. 

I am an artist and would like to participate in the Festival. Will CONTACT assign me a venue? 
It is the responsibility of the artist to secure a venue to exhibit their work in. There are opportunities for artists seeking venues to exhibit with one of the neighbourhood Business Improvement Area (BIA) groups that partner with the festival each year. The BIAs send out calls for submissions in autumn, and match up artists with venues. 

Is the text I submit what will appear in the magazine?
All texts are edited by CONTACT to establish a consistent editorial standard in the magazine; you will be contacted if substantial changes are proposed. Please write in the 3rd person (do not use “I”), and in the present tense. Please contact our office if you have any questions about this policy, or are looking for guidance with your text.

Can I pay by credit card over the phone or in person?
No. If you would like to pay by credit card, you must do so online through PayPal. An invoice with a PayPal link will be generated for you during the online registration process. 

Who do I make the cheque out to?
CONTACT Photography Festival

Can I submit to the Primary Exhibition, Public Installation and Events sections of the Festival?
No, submissions are not solicited for these sections of the festival.

Portfolio Reviews

Do I have to be a professional photographer to participate in the Portfolio Reviews?
No. The portfolio reviews are for anyone who is serious about photography. It is not a requirement to be a professional who earns income from their practice, or to have studied visual art. Participants go through a selection process to ensure a high calibre of work is presented in the program.

How should I decide which images to submit?
We suggest focusing on only one or two bodies of work, rather than a group of disparate images, to ensure you are showing your strongest work and to allow reviewers to gain a deeper understanding of your project. The work that you submit for the jury process does not have to be the same work you want to present to reviewers during the event.

What will happen on the portfolio review days?
The reviews will take place over two days at the Gladstone Hotel. You will receive a schedule indicating what times you will meet with reviewers. Each session is 20 minutes long. There will be an area for participants to wait and quietly prepare for reviews, as well as a secure storage room for your portfolio materials that you can make use of.

Before your first review, you will have to sign in. You can come and go during the day, but you should be at the Gladstone at least 15 minutes in advance of your review. If you are late, you forfeit your time slot.

Will I be able to choose the reviewers that I meet with?
When you register, you will be asked to indicate which reviewers you are most interested in meeting. We use a computer-generated lottery to create the schedule, which gives all participants a fair and equal opportunity to meet with their preferred reviewers. We cannot guarantee you will meet all your preferred reviewers, but due to the number of available slots, most people will see their top selections.

When will I get my schedule for the Portfolio Reviews?
Schedules will be sent out as soon as they are ready, around a week before the event. It is a good idea to allow yourself plenty of time to dedicate to the portfolio reviews, and not make too many other commitments on that weekend.

How can I know which reviewers I should meet with?
Each reviewer has a distinct set of experiences that inform their opinions, as well as different roles that they play in their relationship to photography and photographers, such as curating, publishing, or magazine work.

We encourage participants to take the time to research which reviewers will be interested in viewing their work, or which reviewers' opinions they are most interested in.

How should I present my work to the reviewers?
There is no particular rule for how to present your work. The review rooms will be set up with 6-ft-long tables on which to lay out your work, so with that mind, you can use whichever format would most benefit your work. Participants have used a range of formats, from traditional portfolio boxes with mounted or unmounted prints, to self-published books, to laptop or tablet computer presentations. It depends on what works for you and for your project. In general, loose prints (11x14" is a nice, manageable size) in a protective case or box, is an effective, professional way to display your work.

You may also wish to bring your business cards, a postcard or flyer to leave with reviewers, and a notebook to take notes on your conversations.

How should I prepare for the Portfolio Review days?
Think about your goals for the portfolio reviews—whether it is a specific question you want addressed, or a diversity of opinions on work in progress, or a connection you want to make. Having specific questions relevant to your reviewers’ area of expertise is a good idea.

If you've never done a portfolio review before, you may want to practice with a friend, to help you get comfortable presenting your work in a focused and concise way. This can help you to devote more of the session to receiving feedback, making the most of your time with the reviewers. 

I’m only available on one of the two days. Can I still participate? 
If you have scheduling conflicts, you can still participate; however, we may not be able to accommodate your reviewer choices. If this is the case, please let us know as soon as possible. You will still receive the same number of review sessions, but they might not be with your top choices.

In Your Planner




Add your favourite events by clicking the next to each thumbnail.