Photography is a vital means of communicating the distinguishing characteristics of people and demonstrating both the objective and subjective reality of objects and sites. The construction of identity is deeply connected to the taking and viewing of photographs, now more than ever within our hyper-mediated culture. Regardless of the processes employed in their production, photographic images convey genuine external traits, conditions of sameness, and situational differences. They influence human behavior and the ways in which we adapt within and respond to the world around us.
CONTACT’s 2014 thematic programming highlights the relationship between identity and photography by focusing on images that explore individual and collective attributes. The Festival’s Primary Exhibitions and Public Installations include photo-based works that address issues of character, nationality, migration, race, class, gender, feminism, masculinity, and sexuality. While some artists create scenes that represent intimate aspects of themselves and their subjects, others take a documentary approach to describe shared concerns and provoke questions. Each of them emphasizes the power of photographs to influence a physical and psychological identification with people, places, and things, while acknowledging the complex and mutable character of their subjects.
This year's edition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival will feature well over 1,500 Canadian and international artists and photographers exhibiting at more than 175 venues throughout the Greater Toronto Area. With such a wide-ranging array of work on offer, there's something worth discovering for nearly any lover of photography.
Editor's Note: The Festival will run throughout the month of May in Toronto, Canada. The list of exhibitions, events, and related activities is extensive. Be sure to check out the Festival's website for many more details about how to enjoy this great celebration of photography.