Over the Family Day weekend, we enjoyed many of the Banff & Canmore exhibitions in the 2016 Exposure Photo Festival. Back in Calgary, I headed out on three short walks taking in 9 exhibits that included something for everyone: new, emerging and established photographers; a wide range of subjects and techniques; and a variety of printing processes and materials.
It took a bit of time to plan my walks. I didn’t find the Exposure Photo Festival website at all helpful with route planning. It’s possible to bring up a map of individual exhibit locations, but not a map showing all events on a given day. I think adding something like this map would really improve the Exposure Photo Festival website experience:
One of my favourite downtown art spaces is the Peanut Gallery, downstairs at Fleuvog Shoes (and yes, I’m biased because of the Beakerhead connections to this space). For the Exposure Photo Festival, it was almost like I headed down the stairs to a metro station and emerged in Paris. Calgary photographers Julie Vincent and Chris Tait put together an extensive collection of (mostly) black and white images that downplay the typical Paris landmarks in favour of everyday streets and citizens.
Motion Gallery dedicated a large amount of wall space for a show appropriately titled “Nine“, showcasing nine emerging photographers that covered a variety of subjects, styles, printing techniques and sizes. One of my favourite pieces was the absolutely massive “Open Door” by Gary Duits.
Robinson’s Camera mounted Brad Hill’s Animalscapes, whose approach to wildlife photography differs from the more typical animal close-up. He shows animals in the context of the broader landscape, a mash-up he labels Animalscape. So not only does he have to scout out the animal, he also has to consider all the factors associated with good landscape photography, including lighting, depth, balance and composition. Most of the photos in this exhibit were taken on the west coast of Canada. Of the many fabulous Animalscapes, my favourite is Misty Morning Cruise, shown here.
Inglewood Fine Arts brought together four distinct styles and practices into the show PULSE:
- the beauty of natural forms and colours (Andrew Millar)
- the colour and emotion in abstract landscapes (Jeff Cruz)
- a sense of isolation in an abandoned, mechanical world (Royce Howland); and
- a unique take on the human form through contrasting juxtapositions (Anne-Laure Autin).
Reworks Upcycle Shop hosted Rise of the bots by Jack Germsheid. I met Jack during Exposure Photo Festival last year and he was just as generous with his time this year, explaining how he accumulates remnants of the 20th century – vacuum tubes, clock gears and photographic ephemera – that he uses to construct the bots. All of the prints in this show are made with the 19th Century wet collodion process.
I timed my walk south of the rail line to coincide with the 11 am opening time for most of the galleries in the Beltline. And since I was riding to/from downtown on the west LRT line, I did it one way, hopping of at Sunalta station, working my way from west to east generally along 11 Ave SW and then caught the train back home from the 7th Street station.
My first stop, at Barbara Edwards Contemporary, was both the highlight and lowlight of my day. It was the highlight because I absolutely loved Diane Landry‘s work – her photography, videography and sculptures. It had a real Beakerhead vibe to it. It was the lowlight because I learned that even though I visited Esker Foundation during Oh, Canada, I missed the room showcasing even more of Landry’s pieces. Anyhow, I found Solo Knight III, a kinetic sculpture created from repurposed common household objects and materials such as water bottles and mineral oil, particularly appealing. After checking with the gallery managing director, I applied the Beakerhead Photo Crew “no barriers” approach to photographing the sculpture in motion. I only had my phone camera with me, but am pretty happy with the results.
Robert Sweep Homefurnishings Inc. is not what springs to mind when I think of gallery space, but they have a well-lit, white-walled space that’s perfectly suited to displaying art. It was a real treat to browse through 39 prints selected from 35 years of photography around the world, all made by Dick Bakker, a Dutch photographer who lives and works in Calgary. His main focus is on travel photography although there are also stills and lucky finds in abandoned factories present throughout his work.
“Perceptions” at New Zones was another eclectic mix of images. Most of the photographs were manipulated in someway or were taken with equipment with the goal of achieving a specific effect. Of all the shows I visited during Exposure Photo Festival this year, this was the one I found least relatable, I guess because the photographer/artists work with techniques way beyond those familiar to me…I was outside my of comfort zone here.
My last stop of the day was at Herringer Kiss Gallery, where I made multiple laps around the space featuring Shane Arsenault’s “Facades”. Arsenault grew up in Canmore and is a recent grad of the ACAD photography program. He made a brilliant decision when he opted to print his images of architectural details on brushed aluminum.
Exposure Photo Festival 2016 officially wrapped up at the end of February, but a handful of exhibits are still available for your viewing enjoyment. Check the events listing for details.
Exposure Photo Festival 2017 will run the whole month of February. I’m definitely planning to attend. How about you?