Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
Photobook Lab

Laia Abril
On Abortion

While its 2020 Festival iteration is currently postponed, we are pleased to share a selection of titles in this virtual version of the Photobook Lab, a program comprised of a curated reading room focused on long-term projects and investigative journalism. It features classic and contemporary titles by Canadian and international artists and photographers tackling complex subjects through research, collaboration, and innovative forms of documentation. This initiative is inspired by Spanish artist Laia Abril’s exhibition A History of Misogyny Chapter Two: On Rape, which will be presented at CONTACT Gallery later this year.

CONTACT’s first iteration of the virtual Photobook Lab features Spanish artist Laia Abril’s On Abortion and the repercussions of lack of access (Dewi Lewis, 2018) — chapter one in her long-term project A History of Misogyny. Abril’s extensive research draws on the past to highlight the long, continuing erosion of women’s reproductive rights. Bringing together her own photographs, archival images, and texts, she raises questions of ethics and morality and reveals the social triggers, stigmas, and taboos around abortion that have been largely invisible.

On Abortion was the winner of the Paris Photo/Aperture Foundation Photobook of the Year Award in 2018 and a finalist for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize in 2019. The following video interview with Laia Abril at the Photographer’s Gallery, London, looks at this important project, which was initially presented as an exhibition, and the working process of this critical artist whose practice tackles extremely difficult topics with unwavering commitment and sensitivity.


The Photobook Lab is generously supported by Marvin and Dara Singer