Posts Tagged ‘photography festival’

This is another post about an exhibit from the CONTACT Photography Festival.   I know that it’s now June and CONTACT was in May, but I wanted to post these photos.  I actually took them early in May as you can probably tell by how many clothes the people in the pictures are wearing.  They’re certainly not dressed for the warmer weather we’ve been having lately.  I have had trouble deciding what to write in this post.

There is a parking lot at the NE corner of Front and Spadina with some billboards in it.   Maybe you saw them as you drove or walked past but maybe you passed by and missed them.   There are so many things on the street vying for our attention and a billboard is just another piece of street ‘furniture’.

For the month of May, an installation titled ‘What it Means to be Beautiful’  by Mickalene Thomas occupied a number of billboard spaces at the above mentioned corner.   All the images are portraits of women and are “shown within the context of street advertising, where women are constantly bombarded with narrow notions of female beauty.”   A sample of the billboards:

 

part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman in profile, with a shaved head, on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto

part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman wearing a blue hat on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto. A woman stands on the corner talking on her phone. Another, large, billboard is in the background.

Two women walk past part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto

Two portraits of black women, in a billboard space in a parking lot, with people waiting for a streetcar in glass bus shelters in the background.

part of an art installation, portrait of a black woman on a billboard, by Mickalene Thomas, in a parking lot in downtown Toronto, A group of people wait for a green light at the intersection in the background, tall condos too.

Part of the reason that I hesitated to write this post was the fact that the iphone 6 ad campaign was on at the same time.  It was a campaign that used photos taken with the phone and the ads were very visual and used very few words. In my opinion, they are more eye catching and visually appealing than Thomas’s work. I found a few of them to show here (below).  I know that there were many more but unless I was consciously looking for ads, I didn’t notice them as billboards are one of the things that I block out as I walk.  That led to a few thoughts about what catches a viewer’s attention on the street –   Faces?  Colours?  Contrast?

There is more going on in Thomas’s photos and collages than just visual appeal but I still question the validity of asking the viewer to look at them in the context of street advertising.   Is it fair to compare her images to ads produced by, and in aid of, a large corporation?   Would it have been better to  exhibit her work in different form or a different place?  I don’t have the answers for those questions.  Do you?

 

iphone ad on a bus stop wall showing a woman in a field

iphone 6 ad on a bus stop wall of a woman lying in a field of pumpkins. Her head is surrounded by pumpkins.

an iphone ad on a bus stop wall of a man lying on the ground. He is upside down in the picture

And now I will go back to ignoring billboards as I walk.

‘Cutlines’, an exhibit of old photographs from the Globe & Mail,
part of the CONTACT Photography Festival

people standing in a large room, the old Press Hall at the Globe and Mail newspaper, looking at an exhibit of old photos. Some photos are being projected onto a wall

below: A small sample of the 175 vintage black and white photos from the vast collection held by the Globe and Mail newspaper on display.

old photographs, black and white, of small towns, in a display case, as part of an exhibit called Cutlines, old photos from the Globe and Mail collection

below:  The exhibit is being held at the Press Hall on Wellington Street (near Spadina).  This old building is slated for demolition in the near future as the Globe and Mail is in the midst of moving to a new home.  Prints were in cabinets in the center of the room while other images were projected high on the walls.

people standing in a large room, the old Press Hall at the Globe and Mail newspaper, looking at an exhibit of old photos. Some photos are being projected onto a wall

The Globe & Mail has amassed a collection of about 750,000 photographs.  As they transition from print to digital images, they are ‘cleaning house’ with respect to their photo archives.  About 100,000 of the prints are going to be digitized and a portion of those donated to the new Canadian Photography Institute at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

below: Some of the pictures were covered with red, with what is known as a rubylith mask.  When the images were printed, the portions covered in red remained as they were while the rest of the picture could be changed to suit the needs of the story of the day.

silhouette of a woman standing in front of a lit display case of old photographs

people standing in a large room, the old Press Hall at the Globe and Mail newspaper, looking at an exhibit of old photos. Some photos are being projected onto a wall

people standing in a large room, the old Press Hall at the Globe and Mail newspaper, looking at an exhibit of old photos. Some photos are being projected onto a wall

people standing in a large room, the old Press Hall at the Globe and Mail newspaper, looking at an exhibit of old photos. Some photos are being projected onto a wall

below: The woman with the two trophies, bottom left, is Marilyn Bell who swam across Lake Ontario.  I know that the man beside her is from a story about a cowboy championship of some sort in Calgary and my apologies for not remembering more of the details.

old photographs, black and white, of people with trophies, in a display case, as part of an exhibit called Cutlines, old photos from the Globe and Mail collection

silhouette of two men standing in front of a lit display case of old photographs

On view at 425 Wellington St. West until 26 June 2016

#CONTACT16

It’s common to see posters pasted on walls so finding movie posters on the walls of the tiff Bell Lightbox didn’t strike me as unusual.    I walked past this display until I noticed the sign that marked this as a CONTACT Photography Festival installation.  Fake movie posters, many designed with a touch of humour, that look just like the real thing.

detail of an art installation that is a wall of fake movie posters made with ads and illustrations from old books and magazines

below: The installation, titled ‘Coming Attractions’ covers the corner windows and wall space.   The posters were designed by ‘Long Weekend’ which is a collective of artists working out of Winnipeg.   They were made from ads and illustrations from old books and magazines.

at the corner of King and another street, the TIFF Bell Lightbox building has an art installation on two sides, walls of fake movie posters. The installation is called 'Coming Attractions' and it is by a collective of artists known as The Long Weekend.

detail of an art installation that is a wall of fake movie posters

On the other side of King street, and just a but further east, is a series of eleven large images taken from past editions of ‘Toilet Paper’, a biannual magazine founded by Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari.   They hint at advertising and they blur the line between fantasy and reality.

below: Muhle is a German company that makes shaving products and one of their blades looks identical to the one in this picture.

A woman with her phone in her hands walks past a large poster of two women face to face where all you can see is their nose, mouth, chin and tongues that are stuck out. A razor blade balances between the two tongues.

People walk past two large posters that show a girl lying on a large pile of french fries.
People walk past two large posters that show a girl lying on a large pile of french fries.

A man walks past large posters on King St.,

a man stands in front of a picture that is a large globe with everything painted light blue except the USA

a man stands in front of a picture that is a large globe with everything painted light blue except the USA

If you like these images, you might also like Toilet Paper’s website.

Spread around Kensington and Chinatown are 20 large black and white photos taken by a number of freelance photojournalists who are part of a group called #Dysturb.   One of their goals is to present photojournalism in new ways, including as street art, with the aim of engaging people and encouraging discussion of global issues.   The images are part of an exhibit for the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Kensington has had a problem with taggers for a while.  Often street art gets vandalized in that area.   The #Dysturb photo that was at 56 Kensington (under Mona Lisa) has already been torn down and a couple of others have been ripped.

Pictures of some of the images that are part of the exhibit are shown below.  I have included a partial transcription of the words that accompany each picture.

 

Libyan Coasts, August 1, 2015
Photo by Christophe Stramba-Badiali/Haytham

a large black and white photojournalist picture, part of CONTACT photography festival, pasted on a wall - a boat load of Libyan migrants is being rescued from their rubber dinghy.

West African migrants are seen aboard a boat, approximately 20 nautical miles off the Libyan coast, as they are about to be rescued by Medecins Sans Frontieres. The MSF-hired ship, named Argos, was patrolling the waters off Libya when it encountered one rubber dinghy carrying a total of 111 migrants including several children and infants. “


Barpak, Ghorka District, Nepal, May 9, 2015 ”
Photo by Renaud Philippe/Hans Lucas

a large black and white photojournalist picture, part of CONTACT photography festival, pasted on a wall - children playing in the wind created by a helicopter, Nepal, on a wall in an entraceway.  A man is busking in front, and there are people walking past on the sidewalk

Children play in a cloud of dust and gravel thrown by an Indian army helicopter landing in Barpak Nepal.  The community is at the epicenter of the devastating earthquake that struck April 25, 2015, taking over 8000 lives.  Of Barpak’s 1400 houses, only 20 remain standing.   The rest of the town is a pile of rubble that blends into the rocky landscape.  An archway that somehow survived the quake greets visitors with a rueful ‘Welcome to Barpak’.”


Shaanxi Province, Henan, China, February 27, 2014
Photo by Sim Chi Yin/Vii

a large black and white photojournalist picture, part of CONTACT photography festival, pasted on a wall - an ill Chinese man is being comforted by his wife.  The picture is on a graffiti covered wall and a black car is parked close to it.

Gold miner, He Quangui, battling silicosis, struggles to breathe while cradled in the hands of his wife Mi Shixiu.  After many attempts to stabilize his breathing, in the early hours of the next morning her tried to kill himself to end the suffering.  He contracted the irreversible disease working in illegal gold mines in China’s Henan province.   He is among some six million workers in China who have pneumoconiosis – the country’s most prevalent occupational disease.”


Cizre Turkey, October 30, 2015.
Photo by Emilien Urbano/Myop for Le Monde
NOTE: I took this picture on Friday. Today (Monday) it was gone.

large black and white photo pasted onto a boarded up storefront of European Textiles on Spadina Rd. The photo is part of #Dysturb exhibit at Contact Photography Festival. It shows a hooded man holding an automatic rifle

A militiaman from the PKK Youth wing YDG-H in Cizre Turkey.  The Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H) – the militant youth wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – are battling to defend their neighbourhoods from Turkish security forces.  The YDG-H has been acting as a paramilitary force in Cizre for the past few months and has closed off several Kurdish neighbourhoods with their armed checkpoints and patrols.


Fort McKay, Alberta, Canada, August 12, 2015
Photo by Ian Willms/Boreal Collective

a large black and white photojournalist picture, part of CONTACT photography festival, pasted on a wall - a sick boy is lying on a bed, on a wall in the entranceway to a store, sidewalk and street scene in the background

Dez, 7, plays in his bed.  Dez was born with an underdeveloped heart and has received multiple open heart surgeries.  His family and healthcare professionals in Fort McKay believe that his condition was caused by environmental pollution.   Fort McKay is an indigenous community that is surrounded by oil  sands developments.”


Kunduz City, Afghanistan, November 18, 2015.
Photo by Andrew Quilty/Oculi

a large black and white photojournalist picture, part of CONTACT photography festival, pasted on a wall - a mother (covered in a black burka) and her daughter in grief, at a gravesite.  Pasted on an orange wall with an old brown leather sofa in front of it.

Najibah tries to comfort her daughter Zahara, 8, as they weep over the grave of their husband and father, Baynazar.   Baynazar, 43, was wounded by gunfire on his way home fromwork during the Taliban takeover of Kunduz in late 2015.  He was taken to the nearby Doctors Without Borders (MSF) trauma centre.  In the early hours of October 3, during his second operation, a US AC-130 aircraft attacked the hospital for more than half an hour, killing 43 MSF staff, patients and nurses.  Dozens more were wounded.

About #Dysturb

#CONTACT16

‘Current Studies’ and ‘Paper Planes’
Two different series of photographs by Sjoerd Knibbeler
Allan Lambert Galleria, Brookfield Place

At ground level there are six large freestanding ‘walls” arranged in line, three at each end of the atrium.    Each ‘wall’ is covered by two images, one on either side.  They are photographs that are the result of Knibbeler’s experiments to “ shape, encompass, and capture air currents.”  This is the ‘Current Studies’ part of the installation.

A picture taken inside the Allan Lambert Gallery at Brookfield Place, photos by Sjoerd Knibbeler, a series called Current Study large pictures standing in the middle of the gallery, as well as series called "Paper Planes" which are hung from the ceiling

Suspended from the ceiling are a set of photographs of paper airplanes, the ‘Paper Planes’ part of the installation.    Knibbeler photographed paper airplanes that he made using information that he found online.  He chose military planes that were never produced.

A picture taken inside the Allan Lambert Gallery at Brookfield Place, photos by Sjoerd Knibbeler, a series called Current Study large pictures standing in the middle of the gallery, as well as series called "Paper Planes" which are hung from the ceiling

A picture taken inside the Allan Lambert Gallery at Brookfield Place, photos by Sjoerd Knibbeler, a series called Current Study large pictures standing in the middle of the gallery, as well as series called "Paper Planes" which are hung from the ceiling

A picture taken inside the Allan Lambert Gallery at Brookfield Place, photos by Sjoerd Knibbeler, a series called Current Study large pictures standing in the middle of the gallery, as well as series called "Paper Planes" which are hung from the ceiling

A picture taken inside the Allan Lambert Gallery at Brookfield Place, photos by Sjoerd Knibbeler, a series called Current Study large pictures standing in the middle of the gallery, as well as series called "Paper Planes" which are hung from the ceiling

A picture taken inside the Allan Lambert Gallery at Brookfield Place, photos by Sjoerd Knibbeler, a series called Current Study large pictures standing in the middle of the gallery, as well as series called "Paper Planes" which are hung from the ceiling

A picture taken inside the Allan Lambert Gallery at Brookfield Place, photos by Sjoerd Knibbeler, a series called Current Study large pictures standing in the middle of the gallery, as well as series called "Paper Planes" which are hung from the ceiling

A picture taken inside the Allan Lambert Gallery at Brookfield Place, photos by Sjoerd Knibbeler, a series called Current Study large pictures standing in the middle of the gallery, as well as series called "Paper Planes" which are hung from the ceiling

A picture taken inside the Allan Lambert Gallery at Brookfield Place, photos by Sjoerd Knibbeler, a series called Current Study large pictures standing in the middle of the gallery, as well as series called "Paper Planes" which are hung from the ceiling

#CONTACT16