Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
Carmen Winant, My Birth, 2018. Published by Self Publish, Be Happy
Carmen Winant, My Birth, 2018. Published by Self Publish, Be Happy

Women and Photobooks Symposium

May 4, 11am–3pm

Art Gallery of Ontario — Jackman Hall
317 Dundas St W

Bringing together international artists, publishers, and curators, Women and Photobooks will look at the history of photobooks by women and explore a variety of contemporary projects, addressing current trends in design, aesthetics, and subjects. This symposium presents an opportunity for the consideration of which tools or initiatives can facilitate a more progressive future in the photo/publishing industry, and how women artists can be better supported in the field of publishing.

Performance: Birth and Its Metaphors
Carmen Winant
This performance comprises a talk by the artist followed by a video made using video and still works by other artists—from Stan Brakhage to Dana Schutz—to ask the question: why is it so difficult to make art about birth? The performance investigates the notion of metaphor itself, as a device artists use—the ways in which they rely on it, and the manners in which it fails them.

Carmen Winant is an artist and writer living in Columbus, Ohio. In 2018, she participated in the group exhibitions Being: New Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, and Another Echo at the Sculpture Center (NY). Winant regularly contributes to Aperture, Cabinet, Time, The Believer, and Frieze magazines, and is at work on a book about the nature of practice.

Keynote Lecture: How women invented the Photobook?
Delphine Bedel
Publishing was, historically, the privileged medium to circulate images, and women used it to claim their artistic, economic, political and sexual independence. Although their contribution to the history of photography and to publishing was definitive and groundbreaking in many areas, the publications documenting their achievements are scarce. The degree of erasure and misrepresentation, the lack of documentation, academic research and archives, brings a sense of urgency: It is a collective task and responsibility to write a different history of women artists and photographers and their editorial practices. What are the conditions—political, socio-economic, artistic, etc.—that made this erasure possible? And to what extent are these conditions still present?

Delphine Bedel founded Meta/Books—a collaborative and versatile publishing and research platform—in 2014. Through curated events, publishing experiments, lectures, and feminist education projects, Meta/Books aims to foster a critical debate on these practices as they emerge, and to advocate for the creation of a Charter for Equality in Art & Design.

12:30 Break

12:40 Conversation: Making Books
Nelson Chan & Rose Marie Cromwell
Publisher Nelson Chan of TIS Books and artist Rose Marie Cromwell will converse on the subject of Cromwell’s recent book El Libro Supremo de la Suerte (2018), which gathers photographs from her largest body of work, made in Havana over a span of seven years. Translated as “The Supreme Book of Luck,” its title refers to the photocopied booklets used to navigate the covert lottery in Havana.

Nelson Chan was born in New Jersey to immigrant parents from Hong Kong and Taiwan and has spent most of his life between the United States and Hong Kong. He holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, and is a graduate of the University of Hartford, Hartford Art School, where he received an MFA. Chan is a co-founder of Brooklyn-based TIS Books, an art-book publishing house whose focus is small-edition photobooks, and is also the production manager for Aperture Foundation.

Rose Marie Cromwell is a photographic and video artist whose work explores the effects of globalization on human interaction and social politics. She is also interested in the tenuous space between the political and the spiritual. She received the Getty Reportage Grant and the Light Work Photobook Award in 2018, and was on the shortlist for the MACK First Book Prize in 2017. She lives in Miami, Florida.

1:10 Conversation: Making Books
Carmen Winant and Bruno Ceschel

Artist Carmen Winant and publisher Bruno Ceschel discuss the nuances of their collaboration on Winant’s book My Birth (2018), which interweaves photographs of the artist’s mother giving birth with found images of anonymous women undergoing the same, and includes an original text by the artist exploring the shared, yet solitary, ownership of the experience of birth.

Bruno Ceschel is the founder and director of Self Publish, Be Happy and is a visiting lecturer at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London, and École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL). Since founding Self Publish, Be Happy in 2010, he has organised events at leading international arts institutions, and published books with such artists as Lucas Blalock, Lorenzo Vitturi, and Felicity Hammond. He lives in London.

1:40 Panel: Publishing & Collecting – Critical Concerns
Speakers will discuss recent publications and how they have contributed to and informed the publishing industry and photobook collections today. Moderator Sarah Allen (Tate Modern) will speak with Miwa Susada (Session Press), Dewi Lewis and Caroline Warhurst (Dewi Lewis Publishing), Kris Graves (KGP Books), and Sara Knelman (Corkin Gallery). The panel will conclude with a Q&A including all symposium speakers.

Sarah Allen is Assistant Curator at Tate Modern. She recently opened the exhibition Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art (2018). She has also curated Martin Parr (2018), Mark Ruwedel (2018), Daido Moriyama (2017), Kaveh Golestan (2017) and Gyorgy Kepes (2017) as well as the thematic displays 1968 Protest and the Photobook (2018), Iranian photobooks (2017) and integrated displays featuring Stephen Shore (2017) and Shunk-Kender (2016). She has a specialist focus on photobooks and is curator of the Martin Parr photobook collection.

Miwa Susuda is a publisher at Session Press, introducing new and historical work by contemporary Japanese photographers. Susuda writes, works with museums and galleries, and participates in international symposiums, art fairs, and gallery talks, to further promote the work of Japanese photographers. She is a photobook consultant at Dashwood Books and lives in New York.

Kris Graves is a photographer and publisher based in New York and London. KGP Books collaborates with artists to create limited edition publications and archival prints, specializing in contemporary photography and works on paper, with a focus on current world issues, including race, class, policy, social awareness, feminism, and culture.

Dewi Lewis Publishing is a partnership owned and run by Caroline Warhurst and Dewi Lewis. Founded in 1994, it has an international reputation and has published books by numerous leading British and international photographers. Its aim is to bring attention to accessible but challenging contemporary photography by both established and lesser known practitioners.

Sara Knelman is a writer, curator, lecturer, and the Director of Corkin Gallery, Toronto. She holds a PhD and an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and a BA in English Literature from McGill University. Knelman has taught at institutions including the Courtauld, London, and Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts, Toronto.

Supported by Dara and Marvin Singer

Organized by CONTACT

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.