What happens when you take four gallerists with brains, ambitions, and talents and mix that with the desire to see a comprehensive photography festival in Toronto? You get the humble beginnings of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, taking place annually.
Founded by myself and my former business partner and dear friend Darren Alexander, alongside Stephen Bulger, and Linda Book as a not-for-profit organization 14 years ago, CONTACT is devoted to celebrating, and fostering an appreciation of the art and profession of photography. Through month long exhibitions, seminars, an international lecture series, and portfolio reviews - this festival is unparalleled, showcasing hundreds of emerging, mid-career, and professional photographers each year. In addition to a curated portion of the festival, its success can be attributed to an ongoing open call for exhibitions that has provided a place where photographers in all stages of their career can exhibit along side one another and create interesting and amazing dialogues. Along side TIFF, this festival, which has become the largest of its kind anywhere on the globe has helped put Toronto on the map in the world of image making.
Taking place every May, CONTACT populates hundreds of venues around the city, showcasing work from around the globe - alongside a jam packed line up of events, the first two days of the CONTACT festival begin with portfolio reviews. Happening annually, these reviews provide artists with the opportunity to have their work discussed by leading professionals in the field, with the possibility of exposing their portfolios to the art, design, marketing, and business world. This year, with great pleasure, I will be a reviewer along with colleagues Marilyn Cadenbach from California, one of the leading representatives in the commercial photography industry, whom I reviewed with at Center this past year, Bonnie Rubenstein, Artistic Director of CONTACT, Sophie Hackett curator of photography at the AGO, and many more and I look forward to the work I will encounter. Having helped found this festival back in 1997, it is always nice to return and contribute in some small way to its ongoing legacy.
Here at TAP we are constantly searching for new, interesting and innovative artists, and we are always sure to encounter this at CONTACT. For more information on the festival, and Portfolio reviews, please visit their website. For my up to the minute dialogue with art and design sprinkled with a bit of humour - and my take of this years CONTACT festival - follow me on Twitter at @tatartalks and join our Facebook group.