Stimulated by the renewed global interest in street photography, this year’s festival explores the theme “Public” in a series of primary exhibitions, site-specific installations, and events across the city. Drawing attention to social and political issues that are framed by photographic images, the works presented challenge the distinctions between our…

Stimulated by the renewed global interest in street photography, this year’s festival explores the theme “Public” in a series of primary exhibitions, site-specific installations, and events across the city. Drawing attention to social and political issues that are framed by photographic images, the works presented challenge the distinctions between our private lives and the public sphere. CONTACT 2012 highlights how photography shapes collective experience and makes things public.

Iconic photographs capture the spirit of the street, turning a fleeting moment into a representation of concepts that resonate and circulate far beyond their original context. Our exhibitions with photographs by major figures from the 20th century—such as Berenice Abbott, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Weegee—provide a historical framework for the festival and reveal their enduring influence on contemporary image-makers. These shows emphasize the ways photography has been used to convey the complexities of life within an urban setting and the significance images have to the formation of our collective identity.

The events that led to rebellions across the Middle East and widespread pro-democracy movements used social media as a catalyst. Inspired by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the Occupy movement began in New York City in September 2011 and spread around the world. The ubiquity of digital and cell phone cameras, and the global circulation of images online, reinforces the ongoing phenomenon of street protest. Looking at how the camera is used in contemporary life to influence behaviour and instigate action, a two-venue exhibition, Public: Collective Identity | Occupied Spaces, presents photographic works by 16 artists, as well as a number of anonymous individuals, to examine current social and political issues and events. Ranging from images that capture collective harmony to projects that convey civil discontent, this international group show—including Ai Weiwei from China, Barry Frydlender from Israel, and Noh Suntag from Korea—explores the social structure of contemporary life and photography’s role in the public performance of identity as an important means to respond to, intervene within, and document political actions.

Images frame and reflect upon socio-political events and this year’s festival includes a number of projects that emphasize photography’s engagement with warfare and activism. An exhibition of recent photographs by Larry Towell and Donovan Wylie provides a compelling visual narrative about surveillance and the social realities in Afghanistan. The late Tim Hetherington’s Sleeping Soldiers, on billboards in Toronto and across Canada, take on added resonance as the Canadian forces in Afghanistan shift their focus from combat to training. Another powerful reminder of the risks facing those involved in conflict overseas, Scott McFarland’s mural at Queen and Shaw depicts a repatriation ceremony for a Canadian soldier killed in combat. Jim Goldberg’s Open See project gives a public voice to the displaced peoples of Eurasia and Africa—whether fleeing war or seeking a better life. Within the present-day culture of global street protest, the collaborative duo of Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber present works that reactivate 1960s student demonstrations.

Turning the focus to personal and everyday experiences, several artists capture individual and collective behaviour in public space to look at issues of spectacle, voyeurism, and privacy. Bill Sullivan’s installation at Pearson Airport presents an extended portrait of an anonymous public, while Melanie Manchot creates a commissioned series of portraits of the Distillery District’s working population based on archival images. Lynne Marsh’s video and photographs foreground the various types of stages upon which our public spectacles are performed; while Lynne Cohen’s exhibition, Nothing is Hidden, reveals the unexpected dimensions of public and private interior spaces. For Album, Max Dean will travel to selected locations around Toronto to give away 500 family photo albums he collected over the past 10 years. Placing photographic imagery in Toronto’s subway, Derek Besant’s portraits depict the random thoughts of strangers, and We’re in this Together uses platform posters to show photographs of different communities in the city, while TTC LCD screens feature images submitted by Torontonians in response to an open call.

The extensive range of images in this year’s CONTACT is a testament to the powerful engagement society has with the medium of photography. Its ongoing relevance to the ways we interpret the world and find our place within it—as private individuals and as members of the public—is undeniable, not only by virtue of the sheer volume of images that circulate throughout the public sphere, but also as evident in any one image made by these artists.

Bonnie Rubenstein
Artistic Director

2012
Berenice Abbott, Blossom Restaurant, 103 Bowery, New York City, October 24, 1935 © Berenice Abbott/Commerce Graphics
AGO
May 23–August 19,  2012

Berenice Abbott
Photographs

2012
Lynne Marsh, Upturned Starry Sky from the Camera’s Point of View, 2011 Courtesy of Galerie Donald Browne, Montreal
April 28–June 15,  2012

Lynne Marsh
Upturned Starry Sky

2012
Lynne Cohen, Untitled (Malevich), 2011 Scotiabank Fine Art Collection
May 3–June 30,  2012

Lynne Cohen
Nothing Is Hidden

2012 Public Installation
Sabine Bitter / Helmut Weber, Super Students #1, 2010 on which this university was found." Student society president Stan Wong, March 1967
April 25–June 18,  2012

Sabine Bitter / Helmut Weber
Super Students #1

2012 Public Installation
Derek Besant, Public Spaces/Private Thoughts #8, 2012
April 30–June 3,  2012

Derek Besant
Pattison Special Project: Public Spaces/Private Thoughts

2012 Juried Call
Jon Rafman, Rv888, Finnmark Norway, 2010 Courtesy of the artist and Angell Gallery.
May 3–June 2,  2012

Jon Rafman
The Nine Eyes of Google Street View

2012 Juried Call
Dan Dubowitz, Commercial Ford, 2011
May 1–31,  2012

Dan Dubowitz
Fordlandia: The Lost City of Henry Ford

2012 Juried Call
Peter MacCallum, Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis: Façade of No. 192, Corner of Rue Demarquay, 2010
May 10–August 10,  2012

Peter MacCallum
Yonge Street / Rue du Faubourg Saint Denis

2012 Juried Call
Abbas Kowsari, Masculinity A series, No. 1, 2006
May 4–June 9,  2012

Group Exhibition
Gender and Exposure in Contemporary Iranian Photography

2012 Juried Call
Mark Boulos, Commander Ivy, No Permanent Address, 2010
April 13–May 26,  2012

Mark Boulos
No Permanent Address

2012 Juried Call
Laurie Kang, Studio Portrait, 2012
May 2–June 2,  2012

Laurie Kang
Empty Vessels Make the Most Noise

2012 Juried Call
Johan Hallberg-Campbell, Graveyard sits over La Poile, Newfoundland, 2011
April 21–July 15,  2012

Johan Hallberg-Campbell
Coastal

2012 Juried Call
Laura Barrón, Palimpsest #5, 2012
April 28–May 27,  2012

Laura Barrón
Palimpsest

2012 Juried Call
Rehab Nazzal, Mourning, 2012 Courtesy of the artist.
May 2–26,  2012

Rehab Nazzal
At Home

2012 Juried Call
Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Untitled, 2010
May 1–31,  2012

Aaron Vincent Elkaim
A Co-existence: Lost in the Wake of Zionism

2012 Juried Call
Nadia Belerique, Light on the Subject (The Divided Self), 2011
April 26–June 25,  2012

Group Exhibition
In the Corner of My Eye

2012 Juried Call
Zach Slootsky, Kingsway Motel, 2011
May 3–31,  2012

Zach Slootsky, Oliver Pauk
Motels of Niagara Falls

2012 Juried Call
Patrick Cummins, 100 Adelaide Street East, 1989-1998
May 1–31,  2012

Patrick Cummins
Full Frontal T.O.

2012 Juried Call
Robert Giard, Five Members of “Other Countries”, 1987  © Estate of Robert Giard / Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery
April 28–June 30,  2012

Robert Giard
Just As You Are: Portraits by Robert Giard

2012 Open Call
Edward Eastman, Under_Overpass, Silver Gelatin, Lilth print.
April 20–May 10,  2012

Group Exhibition
The Dark Room: A Group Show Celebrating Alternative Process and Analogue Photography

2012 Open Call
Harry Enchin, Strombo (incorporating part of City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Sub-series 3, Item  1234), 2011
April 26–May 26,  2012

Harry Enchin
Toronto Transformed

2012 Open Call
Ken Regan, Mick and Andy Warhol at the Factory, October, 1977
May 1–31,  2012

Group Exhibition
50 Years of The Rolling Stones: A Rock & Roll Retrospective

2012 Open Call
Victoria Piersig, Doomed, 2011
May 5–27,  2012

Victoria Piersig
Disembodied Landscape

2012 Open Call
Alexandra Gelis, ,
May 7–July 13,  2012

Alexandra Gelis
The Photography Project: Capturing the Past, Present and Future of Seniors from Rexdale

2012 Open Call
Khvay Samnang, Wedding 3, 2009
May 8–June 4,  2012

Group Exhibition
Between Fantasy and Reality: Contemporary Photography from Cambodia

2012 Open Call
Heidi Schaeffer, Untitled, 2012
May 5–June 2,  2012

Linda Duvall, Heidi Schaefer
As Is: With Love

2012 Open Call
Beverly Owens, ,
May 1–31,  2012

Beverly Owens
All Present Or Accounted For

2012 Open Call
Ralph Brunner APSA, Inner Light, 2005
May 1–31,  2012

Patrick J. Boening, Margarete Brunner, Ralph Brunner
Nature and More

2012 Open Call
Dana Sasarean, sunrise, 2012
May 1–30,  2012

Lea Konforte, Agra Baroti, Dana Sasarean
Jam

2012 Open Call
,
May 1–31,  2012

Joanna Ferraro
Afterthought

2012 Open Call
Lisa Kannakko, violin, 2010
May 3–27,  2012

Lisa Kannakko
Parkdale Portraits

2012 Open Call
Matthew Searle, ,
May 1–31,  2012

Matthew Searle
Turkish Delights

2012 Open Call
Catherine Farquharson, Dedication, 2011
May 1–31,  2012

Catherine Farquharson
The Journey of a Girl

2012 Open Call
voulavous, Untitled (Le Bateau Lavoir), 2011
May 6–12,  2012

Group Exhibition
Greek Film & Foto Week presented by the Greek America Foundation

2012 Open Call
Don Newlands, Niagara,
May 14–June 3,  2012

Group Exhibition
Capture

2012 Open Call
Alexander Clemmer, Bammbo, 2011
May 1–7,  2012

Sheridan College Applied Photography Students
Two

2012 Open Call
Nicolette Potter, ,
May 14–31,  2012

Nicolette Potter
Siren

2012 Open Call
John Drahjewicz, Biggar, 2011
May 2–June 3,  2012

John Drajewicz, Sheila Jonah
Coast 2012

2012 Open Call
Chris Grismer, Batboy, 2010
May 5–31,  2012

Chris Grismer
New Suburban Photomat

2012 Open Call
Mark Ridout, Yikes on Bikes: Jacob, 2011
May 1–31,  2012

Mark Ridout
Yikes on Bikes

2012 Open Call
Agnes Thor, Pleasure First: Glitch, 2011
May 10–27,  2012

Matthew Tammaro, Agnes Thor
Something, Romanticized

2012 Open Call
Marcos Lins, French Alley, 2010
May 1–June 1,  2012

Marcos Lins
Forgotten Places

2012 Open Call
Bill Filiou, Mirrors, 2011
May 2–13,  2012

Bill Filiou
City Scapes

2012 Open Call
Oliver Pauk, Beach Motel #4, 2011
May 16–27,  2012

Group Exhibition
Acts of Exposure

2012 Open Call
Susan Bozic, He’s so thoughtful, it was’t even my birthday, 2006
May 2–30,  2012

Susan Bozic, Evan Tyler
Quixotic

2012 Open Call
Peter Figura, Wroclaw - Ostrow Tumski, 2010
May 1–31,  2012

Peter Figura
Urban Landscapes – Wroclaw – Portrait of a Central European City

2012 Open Call
Frederic Solenthaler, Boston Harbour, 2011
April 27–29,  2012

Ryerson University Photography Thesis Students
Maximum Exposure

2012 Open Call
Chris Ironside, ,
May 3–27,  2012

Group Exhibition
Exposed 2012

2012 Open Call
Patrick Colpron, The Louvre, 2010
May 1–31,  2012

Patrick Colpron
Paris

2012 Open Call
Eileen Bethune, Referencing Magritte, 2012
April 17–May 6,  2012

Rosedale Heights School of the Arts Students
Citation

2012 Open Call
unknown, Smart Art Example, 2012
May 8–27,  2012

Group Exhibition
Photo-Democratisation

2012 Open Call
Mandeep Flora, ,
April 30–May 27,  2012

Mandeep Flora
Toronto: The Bones of You

2012 Open Call
Carmen Cheung, Amalgam, 2012
May 1–31,  2012

Group Exhibition
Amalgam

2012 Open Call
Fabio Mascarin, Wood, 2010
May 1–31,  2012

Fabio Mascarin
Untitled Work

2012 Open Call
,
May 1–31,  2012

Group Exhibition
Ingl’ism’

2012 Open Call
Abraham Wornovitzky, Houses,
April 26–May 25,  2012

Group Exhibition
iPhoneography

2012 Open Call
Paul Cook, Temples of Finance, 2012
May 1–31,  2012

Paul Cook
Temples of Finance

2012 Open Call
,
May 17–June 3,  2012

Etobicoke School of the Arts Students
Develop

2012 Open Call
Diego Rojas, On a Rainy Day, 2011
May 4–30,  2012

Diego Rojas
Painted Society

2012 Open Call
Rodney Steadman, Elevation, 2010
May 13–25,  2012

Group Exhibition
Sport Cultures: Movement, Identities and Inclusion

2012 Open Call
Daniella Scott, Self Portrait, 2011
May 2–29,  2012

Shoot With This Collective
SPARK: Igniting with Photography

2012 Open Call
Sandy Middleton, Service man, 2012
May 2–31,  2012

Group Exhibition
Wish You Were Here

2012 Open Call
Carm Griffin, Windswept Dunes, 2009
May 1–July 2,  2012

Carm Griffin, Judy Griffin
In The Eye of The Beholder

2012 Open Call
Nalina Sacoor, Grounded, 2011
M*2
May 3–31,  2012

Nalina Sacoor
5th Element

2012 Open Call
Gabor Dvornik, Eye to Eye, 2010
May 1–7,  2012

Group Exhibition
Sport Cultures: Movement, Identities and Inclusion

2012 Open Call
Sandy Baron, ,
May 6–27,  2012

Sandy Baron
Rotating Reality

2012 Open Call
Yaniv Hason, Deconstruction # 4 (Dystopian), 2011
April 29–May 31,  2012

Yaniv Hason
Deconstruction

2012 Open Call
Roman Gdyczynski, ,
May 1–31,  2012

Margaret Gdyczynski, Roman Gdyczynski
Memories

2012 Open Call
Matthew Plexman, Yukon black Spruce 1, 2010
May 24–June 10,  2012

Matthew Plexman
At the Edge of Canada: Peripheral Vision

2012 Open Call
Martha Griffith, ,
May 10–23,  2012

Martha Griffith
Busby Barbie

2012 Open Call
Kathleen Finlay, Corkscrew Hazel, 2011
May 12–June 30,  2012

Kathleen Finlay, Rosemary Little
Quince Botanical

2012 Open Call
Photography Club, Regent Park/ Duke of York Public School, Breakfast Program, 2011
May 1–31,  2012

Regent Park / Duke of York Public School Latisha, Hope, Jannyet, Marwa, Tahseen, Shaniece
My Brain, My Body

2012 Open Call
Gilles Mongeau, Life/forms ll, 2006
May 10–26,  2012

Group Exhibition
In All Things

2012 Open Call
Uknown, Untitled, c 1950
May 4–31,  2012

Juli Zäll
Vie de la Photo

2012 Open Call
Barry Prophet, Snake & Shovel, 2009
May 1–July 31,  2012

Barry Prophet
Dwellings & Incursions: Photographs

2012 Open Call
,
May 1–31,  2012

Liz Gareri, Kareen Mallon
Tied Up & Twisted

2012 Open Call
,
May 3–31,  2012

Group Exhibition
Building Storeys: A Photo Exhibit of Transportation in Toronto

2012 Open Call
Ian Busher, You Don't Have To Say Anything, 2011
May 2–26,  2012

Bradley Lipton, Michael Toole, Ian Busher
Document

2012 Open Call
Lola Reid Allin, Behind the veil of secrecy and deception (Lilia Leon & Victoria Mata in Nohayquiensepa, 2011
May 15–15,  2012

Lola Reid Allin, Students from Colombia
Across the Americas: A Glimpse of Life

2012 Open Call
,
May 5–17,  2012

Havergal College Visual Arts Students
Havergal College Photographs

2012 Open Call
Mark Trusz, Chefs of the Danforth, 2011
May 2–31,  2012

Mark Trusz
Behind the Lines – Chefs of the Danforth

2012 Open Call
Sid Tabak, New York, 2010
May 1–August 31,  2012

Sid Tabak
Point + Shoot

2012 Open Call
,
May 2–29,  2012

Group Exhibition
P.O.V.

2012 Open Call
Jasper Savage, ,
May 1–June 1,  2012

Jasper Savage
Hallam Street Barbers

2012 contact-gallery
Luther Price, Number 9, 2012. Handmade photographic slide installation.
September 6–October 6,  2012

Luther Price
Number 9 and Number 9 II

2012 contact-gallery
Alex Kisilevich, Disco Figure, 2011
February 23–March 24,  2012

Alex Kisilevich
Alex Kisilevich

2012 contact-gallery
Jonathan Taggart, Cemetery, Skookumchuck IR 4, 2009
January 19–February 16,  2012

Jonathan Taggart
The Friction of Distance: The Lillooet River Valley

2012 contact-gallery
Jesse Loutitt, Untitled, 2011. C-print from 4x5 negative.
January 19–February 16,  2012

Jesse Louttit
No Roads

2012 Launch
Patrick Cummins, 227 – 229 Church Street (January 1986, August 1987, May 1997, October 2002), 1986-2002
May 9–9,  2012

Patrick Cummins

2012 Workshop
,
May 13–31,  2012

Next Level Documentary Course

2012 Workshop
,
May 19–22,  2012

Duckrabbit: Multimedia Storytelling Workshop

2012 Workshop
Toni Hafkenscheid, ,
May 15–15,  2012

G44: Advanced Photoshop with Toni Hafkenscheid

2012 Workshop
Dave Kemp, ,
May 26–26,  2012

G44: Pinhole with Dave Kemp

2012 Workshop
Sally Ayre, ,
May 12–12,  2012

G44: Cyanotype with Sally Ayre

2012 Workshop
Toni Hafkenscheid, ,
May 6–6,  2012

G44: Studio Lighting with Toni Hafkenscheid

2012 Workshop
Paul Sergeant, ,
May 5–5,  2012

G44: Tintype with Paul Sergeant and Amanda Rataj

2012 Workshop
,
May 29–29,  2012

G44: Developing an Artist Statement with Shannon Anderson

2012 Workshop
May 26–26,  2012

Pikto: The Law and Photography (Business and Legal Workshop)

2012 Workshop
,
May 23–23,  2012

Pikto: How to Brand Yourself

2012 Workshop
,
May 22–June 12,  2012

Pikto: An Introduction to Photoshop

2012 Workshop
,
May 19–19,  2012

Pikto: Digital Workflow

2012 Workshop
,
May 15–16,  2012

Pikto: Wedding and Event Photography with Tara McMullen

2012 Workshop
,
May 12–12,  2012

Pikto: Body in Motion

2012 Workshop
May 5–5,  2012

Vistek: Street Photography

2012 Workshop
May 26–26,  2012

Vistek: Video 101: The Basics of Visual Storytelling

2012 Event
,
May 12–12,  2012

Magnum Photos Workshop Screening & Wrap Party

2012 Event
Max Dean, Family photo albums, 2012
AGO
May 11–11,  2012

Artist Talk: Max Dean and Hiraki Sawa

2012 Event
Max Dean, Family photo albums, 2012
AGO
May 16–16,  2012

Max Dean: Album

2012 Event
Dan Dubowitz, Commercial Ford, 2011
May 5–5,  2012

Artist Talk: Dan Dubowitz

2012 Event
Lynne Cohen, Untitled, 2010
June 6–6,  2012

In Conversation: Lynne Cohen and Ann Thomas

2012 Event
Lynne Cohen, Untitled, 2009
May 8–8,  2012

Walk-Through with Barr Gilmore

2012 Event
Lynne Cohen, ,
June 26–26,  2012

Exhibition Walk-Through with Olga Korper

2012 Event
Amirali Ghasemi, Coffee Shop Ladies, No. 2, 2004-5
May 5–5,  2012

Panel: Gender and Exposure in Contemporary Iranian Photography

2012 Event
Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Untitled, 2009
May 3–3,  2012

Artist Talk: Aaron Vincent Elkaim

2012 Event
Melanie Manchot, The Chorus, from the series The Continious Still, 2012 Courtesy of Galerie m Bochum, Germany. Archival image courtesy of DIstillery HIstoric District
May 22–22,  2012

Artist Talk: Melanie Manchot

2012 Event
,
May 12–12,  2012

The Tintype Studio @ The Drake Cafe

2012 Event
,
May 11–11,  2012

CONTACT in The Junction

2012 Event
Robert Giard, Allen Ginsberg with his own portrait of Burroughs, 1986  © Estate of Robert Giard / Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery
May 4–March 23,  2012

Through the Lens of Psychoanalysis: The Photographic Portraiture of Robert Giard

2012 Film
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, "About Face", ,
April 28–May 4,  2012

About Face: The Supermodels, Then And Now