Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
John Edmonds, Untitled (Hood 16), from the series Hoods, 2016 – 2018. Courtesy of LTD LA.
John Edmonds, Untitled (Hood 16)
John Edmonds, Untitled (Hood 7), from the series Hoods, 2016 – 2018. Courtesy of LTD LA.
John Edmonds, Untitled (Hood 7)
John Edmonds, Untitled (Hood 1), from the series Hoods, 2016 – 2018. Courtesy of LTD LA.
John Edmonds, Untitled (Hood 1)
John Edmonds, Untitled (Hood 13), from the series Hoods, 2016 – 2018. Courtesy of LTD LA.
John Edmonds, Untitled (Hood 13)
John Edmonds, Hoods, 2018. Installation at Metro Hall. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid
John Edmonds, Hoods
John Edmonds, Hoods, 2018. Installation at Metro Hall. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid
John Edmonds, Hoods
John Edmonds, Hoods, 2018. Installation at Metro Hall. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid
John Edmonds, Hoods
John Edmonds, Hoods, 2018. Installation at Metro Hall. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid
John Edmonds, Hoods
2018 Public Installation

John Edmonds
Hoods

April 27–May 31, 2018
Metro Hall
Structure on King St W at John St

John Edmonds’ photographic series, Hoods, addresses the architecture of clothing and the way bodies in public space are seen and understood. The artist foregrounds how viewers associate apparel such as hooded sweatshirts with race, gender, and age. Edmonds’ subjects are people the artist meets while in transit, on the street, or in public places. They are anonymous, equally hyper-visible and invisible. In each large-scale image, careful lighting renders the folds of the clothing almost sculptural, reflecting an interest in Renaissance paintings and their dramatic depictions of religious icons. Importantly, Edmonds’ protagonists are unidentified and unseen, revealing viewers’ often prejudiced assumptions and projections as to their identity while also rejecting their gaze. Edmonds’ nuanced portraits posit his subjects as complex individuals, rather than reduced tropes of larger cultural categorizations. Speaking to current political and social issues, Hoods acknowledges the symbolic weight this ubiquitous article of clothing has gained in recent years. Edmonds, who is based in Brooklyn, remarks that he is “very mindful of the psychodynamics of self-presentation and the complexity of being watched and not seen. I look at amplifying these works by scale as an act of resistance and defiance.”

Placed within the public context of Toronto’s Metro Hall and the entertainment district, the photographs point to the ways in which such clothing functions as monolithic signifiers not only in the public sphere, but also in movies, television shows, and the news. Employing strategies of advertising imagery, Edmonds’ use of repetitive imagery might first suggest a series of identical movie posters before viewers discern the nuanced distinctions between each subject—a sameness that operates metaphorically to address issues around the power of viewership, race, and representation.

Hoods, like much of Edmonds’ work, is concerned with the visualization of contemporary Black masculinity. He is recognized for his intimate portraits of lovers, close friends, and strangers, and for his projects that focus on the performative gestures and self-fashioning of young Black men on the streets of America.

Supported by the City of Toronto and the Consulate General of the United States, Toronto

Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein

Scotiabank CONTACT
Photography Festival

80 Spadina Ave Suite 205
Toronto ON M5V 2J4
Gallery Hours
Tue-Fri 11am–5pm
The CONTACT Gallery
is wheelchair accessible.