Contact 2008

CONTACT Photography Festival - 2008 Preview

The 2008 CONTACT Photography Festival takes over parts of Toronto starting this week. It's the beginning of a full month of photography exhibits, installations and events that now gives CONTACT bragging rights as the largest photography event in the world.

The 2008 CONTACT program guide is now out and can be picked up for free at many of the galleries and other art-friendly locations around town. For those looking for an abridged version, keep reading for some of my picks of what to do and see at this year's CONTACT.


Rodney Graham's Tree Portaits - Pictured above, the most highly visible installation this year is already creating lots of buzz. We've been getting emails here asking what's going on underneath the Gardiner at Spadina and The Lakeshore. Well, it's trees folks! Rodney Graham's Tree Portraits are still in mid-installation but once up will include 15 upside down trees. Definitely something for drivers to look at while waiting for the light to change at Spadina.

The Drake Hotel Windows - Be sure to stop by the Drake Hotel at some point this month. The world renown Magnum Photos agency will be projecting short documentary style films in the front windows of the hotel until the end of May.

Find out about more installations here.

Special Events

Festival Launch - While exhibits and installations are already technically underway, the official launch of CONTACT takes place this Friday May 2nd at Brassaii. Some of you might remember that last year this was the site of our Constructed Image of Toronto exhibit. This year we haven't returned for an encore but the opening party will feature the photographic duo Alex vs Alex's portrait party. 7pm -12am.

The HP Gallery - Once again, HP is sponsoring a print centre where anyone can bring in photographs to be printed for free at large scale on a state of the art HP printer. This year's gallery is at a new space called the Red Bull 381 Projects on top of the GAP store at Queen and Peter Street (381 Queen Street West). The site is also home to the always impressive Portfolios Review Exhibition which will take place from May 6 to May 24th.

Films on Photography - The NFB will be screening a variety of films on photography all month. Check the full schedule here.

Find out about more special events here.


Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art - Definitely hit the opening night party at the MOCCA on May 1st. (7pm). On the walls are photos from Martin Parr, Thomas Ruff and a host of other accomplished photographers.

Olga Korper Gallery - One of my favourite galleries in the city will be showcasing photos from Robert Maplethorpe. The opening is May 1st, 6-9pm. While there check out the photos at neighbouring Peak Gallery.

The Gladstone Art Bar - This exhibit here, Henrieta Haniskova's I am Elvis, has already been getting lots of buzz with write ups in the Toronto Star and En Route Magazine. On display here are a collection of intimate portraits featuring impersonators who attended the Collingwood Elvis Festival in 2007. The opening is May 1st, 7-10pm.

Nicholas Metivier Gallery - Toronto superstar Michael Awad claims the prized space at this King Street West gallery for his photos encompassing The Entire City Project. The opening is also May 1st, 6-8pm.

Brookfield Place - Familiar as BCE Place to most of us, this much visited locale in the Financial District is one again showcasing photos from Ryerson's Blackstar Collection. The theme this year is Remembering the 20th Century. The opening is May 7th, 6-8pm.

Pentimento Fine Art Gallery - I'm not really sure how we're supposed to make it from Morrow Avenue, to West Queen West, King West and Leslieville (just to name some of the 'hoods hosting openings on May 1st) but another one to add to the list is the Fashion Through Photography exhibition here. Richard Avedon is one of the big names represented. Opening May 1st, 6-10pm.

Thrush Holmes - The one and only Thrush Holmes unveils his new photography at an opening party on May 2nd (6-11pm).

Contacting Toronto - We've mentioned this before, but I guess it's worth repeating that the blogTO sponsored Contacting Toronto exhibition will be viewable on TTC screens throughout the city. Keep an eye out for photos from some of your favourite blogTO Flickr group members. May 1st - 31st.

There's way too many great exhibitions to mention. Check the site for the complete schedule of feature exhibitions and open exhibitions. We'll be posting more picks of what to see as the festival progresses. In the meantime, if you have any exhibits, installations or other CONTACT programming you'd like to suggest, please add them to the comments below.

blogTO is once again a proud sponsor of CONTACT this year.

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