Burtynsky Grant


Renowned Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky and the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival are accepting submissions for the 2017 Burtynsky Grant—a $5,000 annual grant to support a Canadian artist in the creation of a photobook. Burtynsky generously donated his 2016 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts of $25,000 to create the grant and foster the careers of Canadian artists.

This grant is intended to support artists who are in the advanced stages of developing a photobook. The jury is looking for submissions from those that have created a book dummy, are currently seeking funding to work with a publisher or to self-publish, and who have had little to no prior experience publishing a photobook. The winner will be announced at the end of May 2017.

Deadline May 15, 2017

Please submit the following as a PDF by a file hosting service (eg. WeTransfer or Dropbox) to Hardcopy submissions are also welcome in person or by mail at the applicant’s expense; please deliver to our office at the address below. You must be a Canadian citizen or resident to be eligible.

  • Minimum ten (10) spreads of a book dummy that best communicate your project and vision for publication
  • Project statement about your photobook and how you would use the grant funding
  • Expressions of interest from publishers, if available, and/or details on any other publishing grants or funding received
  • CV and/or artist statement

For questions, please email

The winner of the 2016 Burtynsky Grant is Aaron Friend Lettner for his book project Doorways. (Now available for pre-order via Anchorless Press.)

Jurors Edward Burtynsky, Annie MacDonell, (artist and instructor at Ryerson University), and Tara Smith (Program Director at CONTACT) received 110 submissions from across Canada, and considered innovative, compelling, and well-resolved book projects by those seeking funding to work with a publisher or to self-publish.

“To award this grant to Aaron Friend Lettner, a young emerging artist, is exciting because of the direct impact it will have on his self-publishing project. Doorways is a thoughtful meditation on narration and symbolism using black and white photographs, prose, and poetry. His past experience in bookmaking has informed his approach here by creating subtle strategies with layout and content, while pushing the boundaries of traditional storytelling.” – The Jury

Doorways began with several experiments: manipulating photographic materials in the darkroom, integrating text into image sequences, and tampering with the bookmaking process itself” says Lettner, “I became interested in the symbolic properties of images and began to try what I now understand as writing with pictures.”

A student of photography, theatre and percussion, Aaron Friend Lettner continues to practice different methods of storytelling. Questions about the history of language, symbolism and spirituality form ideas that materialise as picture-books, installations and performances. Lettner holds a BFA in Photography and lives between Toronto and Vancouver.

Gattuso Prize


The 2016 Gattuso Prize goes to Lee Henderson for his exhibition Never Letting Us Take Breath at Zalucky Contemporary.

The Gattuso Prize of $5,000 acknowledges an outstanding Featured Exhibition in CONTACT 2016. The jury, Rui Mateus Amaral (Curator and Artistic Director of Scrap Metal) and Mona Filip (Director/Curator of the Koffler Gallery at the Koffler Centre of the Arts), based their decision on the calibre and concept of the work, the curatorial vision, and overall impact and presentation of the exhibition.

“Merging two mid-twentieth century photographic archives, Lee Henderson devises a multi-media project that poetically explores the visual intersections between personal records and marketing devices. Henderson’s juxtaposition of images, projections and voice narration allow the viewer’s eye to travel and encounter moments of beauty, surprise and longing, much like "the tourist” who is implicated in each found photograph. Evoking our own inner travelogues, the project articulates a thoughtful meditation on photography’s persistent role in constructing and undoing personal memory.” -- Mona Filip and Rui Mateus Amaral.

Never Letting Us Take Breath is on view until June 4, 2016, at Zalucky Contemporary (3044 Dundas St W).

Lee Henderson (b.1979) is a contemporary artist whose practice includes video, photography, installation, sculpture, performance, and text. His work moves in constant contemplation of death, in senses grand and minute, somewhere between the persistence of collective histories and the brevity of individual lives. Henderson has studied art in Canada and Germany, holding a BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design (2003) and an MFA from the University of Regina (2005). Henderson's work can be found in private and public collections including the Mendel Art Gallery/Remai Modern, the University of Regina President's Collection, and The Center for Fine Art Photography USA. He currently teaches art and media in Toronto at Ryerson and OCAD Universities.

Established in 2011 and renamed The Gattuso Prize in 2015, the Prize aims to support the careers of aspiring emerging or leading talent exhibiting in the Festival. The jury bases their decision on the caliber and concept of the work presented, the curatorial vision, and the overall impact and presentation of the exhibition.

CONTACT gratefully acknowledges La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso, which demonstrates strong leadership and influences innovation across all charitable sectors in Canada including healthcare, culture and the arts.

 Past Winners

Jimmy Limit, Surplus at Clint Roenisch Gallery.
Jury: Artist and lecturer Lise Beaudry, and writer, curator and lecturer Sara Knelman.

Nadia Belerique,  Have You Seen This Man at Daniel Faria Gallery.
Jury: Jeremy Laing, designer and artist, and Gabrielle Moser, independent curator and art critic.

Marlene Creates,  Selected works from 30 years, 1982-2012, at Paul Petro Contemporary Art.
Jury: Max Dean, artist and Dr. Matthew Brower, curator and historian University of Toronto. 

Lise Beaudry, Sur la glace / Walking on Ice, at the Art Gallery Of Mississauga.
Jury: Michael Itkoff, Founding Editor of Daylight Magazine, New York and Dr. Thierry Gervais, Researcher in Residence at the Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto

Andrew Wright, CORONAE at Peak Gallery.
Jury: Sheyi Bankale, Editor and Founder of Next Level Magazine, London, UK and David Liss, Artistic Director & Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto.

The Portfolio Reviews Award

The Ahmed family at their home In Chittybandi

The winner of the 2016 Portfolio Reviews Award is Nathaniel Brunt.

Nathaniel Brunt is a photographer, archivist, and educator based in Toronto, Canada. His academic and photographic work focuses on the history and photographic representation of war. Brunt has worked in former Yugoslavia, South Asia and Southeast Asia. He is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Arts and Contemporary Studies program (BA, 2011), the University of Kent’s War, Media and Society program (MA, 2012), the Communication and Culture program (MA, 2016) at Ryerson University, and is currently pursuing a PhD in the Communication and Culture program -- also at Ryerson University. His photographic and archival work has been published and exhibited internationally. He is a founder and co-director of the digital archive project The Kashmir Photo Collective (KPC). Recently, Brunt was awarded a SSHRC Joseph Armand Bombardier Canadian Graduate Scholarship, and the Alexia Foundation Student Grant.


Established in 2010, the award offers one artist a solo exhibition at the CONTACT Gallery, a $2,500 credit at Toronto Image Works, and a professional 17-inch Epson printer from Vistek. The recipient is chosen by a jury of international professionals in the field of photography, and the award recognizes outstanding work presented at the reviews.

The program was created to support and advance the careers of talented emerging photographers.

CONTACT gratefully acknowledges the Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Image Works and Vistek for supporting this award.

Past Winners

Josée Pedneault, Nævus

Michel Huneault, La longue nuit de Mégantic

Ian Willms, No Road to Nowhere

Guillaume Simoneau, Love and War 

Jesse Louttit,  No Roads
Jonathan Taggart,  The Friction of Distance: The Lillooet River Valley

Alex Kisilevich, Untitled
Henrieta Haniskova, I am Elvis 



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