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5 Fascinating Contact Photography Shows You Can’t Miss

The world’s largest celebration of photography brings 200 exhibitions and public installations to the GTA starting this weekend – these are just a handful of shows that’ve caught our eye

By Sara Cunningham

Shown above: Julia Nemfield, Umbrellas from October 13th, Photographic Print, 2018

Julia Nemfield, Self portrait at Bay station, Photographic Print, 2018.

Lost and Found

May 2 – 30

Most people dread having to visit the TTC lost articles office at Bay Station. For one, there’s the commute. For another, the anxiety of not finding what you lost. Julia Nemfield spent three months digging through seven such lost and founds in Toronto in order to investigate our attachment to objects, and their detachment from us. Using a grid pattern, she photographs 360 missing items like umbrellas, IDs and key rings. This format returns most things to a state of factory-fresh anonymity. Nemfield’s self-portraits, however, taken at each L&F office, remind us of how we feel when something goes missing: like we’ve lost a piece of ourselves.

Where: Alliance Française Gallery, 24 Spadina Rd

Felicity Hammond, Post Production, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Post Production

Apr 17 – Sep 5

The phrase, wish you were here, doesn’t just apply to postcards anymore. With digital technology making architectural renderings more realistic – and idealistic – than ever, we could easily write those wishful words on a photo from home. Take this mural by London-based artist Felicity Hammond of Toronto’s skyline, installed on the façade of a heritage building at King Street West and Spadina. Like the building, which has had many functions over time, the display comprises a layered collage of photographs and renderings that blend imaginary virtual renderings with reality. The palimpsest reflects our tendency to build on top of industrial sites, and the methods we employ to imagine new cityscapes.

Where: 460 King St W at Spadina Ave

Wang Yishu, Untitled, 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Caught In-Between

Apr 30 – June 3

For many of us, embarking on a daily commute renders our surroundings – and fellow passengers – nearly invisible. This intervention at Osgoode Subway Station urges us to pay attention to what happens in transit. Focusing on such passing moments as a man awkwardly riding a chair lift (and rocking sock and sandals), Wang Yishu dramatizes the commonplace. As a photojournalist travelling between cities and remote villages across China, his daily work demands high impact, narrative images. In this series, however, Wang gives us permission to delight in the aimless and absurd.

Where: Osgoode Subway Station

James Brittain, Revisited: Habitat 67, 2017

Revisited: Habitat 67

Apr 29 – Jul 31

Fifty-one years later, Montreal-based photographer James Brittain revisits Habitat 67 to explore the theme of architectural memory. Designed by Canadian architect Moshe Safdie for the World Exposition of 1967, the iconic residential complex is home to a diverse range of people. Brittain takes his camera inside the complex, showing how the concrete has aged, and how it has been used and adapted by residents. The show answers the question, what’s it like to live in a Brutalist masterpiece?

Where: bulthaup, 280 King St E

Shelley Niro, The Shirt, (detail) 2003. Nine duratrans transparencies in lightboxes. Art Gallery of Ontario. Purchase with assistance from the Estate of P.J. Glasser, 2016. © Shelley Niro

Scotiabank Photography Award: Shelley Niro

Apr 28 – Aug 5

…”and all’s I get is this shirt.” Shelley Niro’s provocative and often comic photography draws on universally understood tropes and symbols – the white tee, an American flag, Marilyn Monroe standing on a subway grate – to weave and unravel narratives about being a “Mohawk girl.” Her wide-ranging practice earned her a Scotiabank Photography Award last year, an event celebrated in this career-spanning survey. “There is poetry in recognizing designs, symbols, and I feel it continues on the journey of ancestors who have invented these symbols from days gone by,” Niro says. Gesturing to the timelessness, and irreverence of her work, she continues, “the ancients liked cinema as much as we do.”

Where: Ryerson Image Centre, 33 Gould Street

Also be sure to check see Sophia Al-Maria’s Black Friday at Mercer Union, on until June 2.


Categories: Special Event

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