Brendan Seaton SexeS Up Contact 2007

Brendan Seaton SexeS Up Contact 2007

For those of you that missed Cryptic Chatter last Friday at the Renaissance Cafe, you not only missed seeing a showcase of some of the best spoken word in the country, but you also missed a chance to check out Brendan Seaton's phenomenal gallery of photography examining the role of sex in the interplay between man and woman.

Luckily, you still have a chance to witness Seaton's exhibit: part of this year's Contact Photography Festival, SexeS will be on display at the Renaissance Cafe until the end of the month, and I highly recommend that you make the trip down the Danforth to check it out. I recently had the chance to ask the prolific Toronto area photographer a few questions about the exhibit, 'contructed' photography, and this year's festival.

SexeS features photographs that are sensuous but very natural at the same time. Why was it important for you to portray this element of human sexuality in your photography?

For years I have been trying to capture the sparks, both good and bad, that fly when men and women encounter each other. Relationships are extremely complex, and the nuances are rarely exhibited in our culture. I found that by combining dance and photography we (the dancers, models and I) were able to explore these nuances and capture the intimacy between the couples as they engaged each other. I don't use the word "love" anywhere in my exhibition because the term carries a lot of cultural baggage. I want to express that when men and women encounter each other there can joy and ecstasy, fear and loathing, excitement and boredom. When the word "love" is used, it should include the full package of emotion and experience felt when men and women get together.

How does SexeS fit into your general body of work, and what message do you hope the audience will get from the gallery?

The SexeS is my first project where I deliberately "constructed" the images. Most of my work is based on street and travel photography and portraiture. With the SexeS I want to challenge the audience to see the BIG picture and recognize that what goes on between men and women is complex, beautiful and sometimes ugly, but also, that its these very qualities that ensure the survival and continuation of our species.

What has your experience with Contact been like this year, and why do you think festivals like Contact are important for photographers in Toronto and Canada?

Fine art photographers, like any other artists, are challenged to create and exhibit their art in a world where purely commercial interests dominate. Festivals like CONTACT provide an affordable opportunity for photographic artists to create and present their ideas to the public and to get the exposure they need to advance their careers. CONTACT is a very open and welcoming festival that is supportive to artists and patrons alike.

(Photo courtesy

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