Exposure Photo Festival 2015 – Banff and Canmore

I did not know about Exposure Photography Festival until this year. How did I miss the first 10 years!?!

Thanks to my recently amp’d interest in the Calgary arts community (sparked by Beakerhead 2014) I discovered Exposure Photography Festival 2015. Over the long weekend, Mr. GeoK and headed to Banff and Canmore to enjoy a few of the 50+ exhibitions listed in the 2015 program.


Our first stop in Banff was Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (admission by donation) where we browsed three galleries of photographs. Since this was my first visit to Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, we also took in the more permanent exhibits including the on-going Gateway to the Rockies exhibit in the Heritage Gallery where I spotted some old photography equipment and an old GPS unit.

  • Through the Lens – Twenty-eight students from Bow Valley high school conceived, created and printed the photographs in this exhibit. In its eighteenth year, the four-month Through the Lens extracurricular program includes field trips, portrait workshops, darkroom demonstrations and more.
  • High Adventure: Byron Harmon on the Columbia Icefield, 1924 – This selection of photographs, film, lantern and stereo-slides from the first photographic expedition to the Columbia Icefield offers a lot: some history of photography, a sense of how rapidly the glaciers are melting, a bit of Alberta history and a look at expedition gear and equipment in common use almost a century ago. I was particularly intrigued by the lantern slides.
  • Everything Sings: Images from Here and There – I’m not sure how to describe the images created by Karin McDiarmid. The exhibit includes photographs from Northern India and from right around Banff. Some appear to be photographic collages, others seem to incorporate textures or intentional camera movement. It would be interesting to attend her artist talk on March 5 to learn more about her “not knowing” approach to creating images.

There’s something serendipitous about one of the photographs I made while viewing McDiarmid’s exhibition. Not only did I not know I had depressed the shutter button on my smartphone, but the subject matter is some of her photographs and the technique (can I call it that if it was an accident?) includes intentional camera movement. As a final touch, I added a texture layer to continue the experiment. Here’s my Karin McDiarmid inspired image.


We also visited the Cave and Basin National Historic Site (admission fee applies) to view a collection of photographs taken by Mountain park staff. The common theme is “wildness” and the images depict wildlife, wildfires and mountain landscapes. If you go, be sure to allow enough time to view the new video that plays across 4 giant screens (in high resolution) and maybe take a couple of minutes to send an e-postcard to friends or family!

Also in Banff, if you have your camera along, we’d recommend a walk along the Bow River, a quick side trip to the Bow River Falls and/or a stop along Vermillion Lakes Road.

Driving east from Banff to Canmore, you might also consider stopping at the Valleyview rest area, aptly named for its views of the Bow River valley including Cascade Mountain and Mount Rundle.



Our first stop in Canmore was at the magnificent Elevation Place which includes state-of-the-art climbing walls, an amazing aquatics centre, the town library and the Canmore Art Guild Gallery. The closing date for the People and Places exhibition was February 17th, but it’s worth a stop to see what’s showing and to check out the amazing facility.

We tried to take in Rob Alexander’s Canmore: Juxtaposed exhibition at the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre but it was closed (on the Saturday of the Family Day long weekend)! The show runs until February 28th and admission is by donation. It will also show at Elevation Place later this spring.

Our final Canmore stop was The Edge Gallery in Spring Creek where photographs by Dianne Bos, Dan Hudson and M.N. Hutchison are showcased. This exhibition pushes the creative and technical boundaries of photography and raises some interesting questions about challenges faced by photographers when their work resides on a flash drive.

If you go

  • The above-listed stops are not the only Banff and Canmore locations for Exposure Photography Festival 2015. Be sure to check the festival guide so you won’t miss anything that piques your interest. There are also several special events, including artist talks, taking place. Check the special events listing for details.
  • Most of the Canmore exhibitions close by the end of February. Some of the Banff ones run through late March. Plan your visit accordingly.
  • And please stop back and share your impressions of these exhibitions.

Finally, I’m planning to visit some of the Calgary festival locations over the coming week. Which stops should be on my “must see” list?

One thought on “Exposure Photo Festival 2015 – Banff and Canmore

  1. Pingback: Exposure Photo Festival 2016 – Banff and Canmore | Out and About with the GeoKs

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