If you live in Toronto, the month of May means the CONTACT Photography Festival. This annual event transforms the city into a gigantic showcase of contemporary images. We’re counting down the days until the festival launch, but in the meantime, we feel a brief introduction is in order.

Founded in 1996, the month-long festival has grown to include over 200 venues around the city. Events include exhibitions, panel discussions, lectures, workshops, film screenings, and portfolio reviews.

Every year the festival centers around a different theme; this year it is ‘figure and ground’. Ideally, the theme figures into the work being shown (though sometimes the connection is quite loose.) Exhibitions are divided into four categories:

Primary Exhibitions: Six exhibitions that highlight the festival theme

Public Installations: Site-specific installations (ie billboards, TTC stations, etc)

Featured Exhibitions: 36 exhibitions relating to the festival theme

Open Exhibitions: Over 160 venues exhibiting work in response to an open call for submissions. (Venues are anything from galleries to coffee bars).

Events are spread throughout the month, though most exhibition openings take place in the first two weeks. We’re going to be featuring a number of Contact-related posts here on Knock Twice, so keep an eye out. A full schedule of events can be found on the CONTACT website:

The festival kicks off on Friday, April 29th with a gala opening at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA):

We’re also excited for:

– Luc Sante’s AGO talk about Robert Frank‘s The Americans

– Chris Curreri’s Something Something exhibition at UTAC Art Lounge

– Susan Kordalewski’s Space vs. Place exhibition at Gallery 44

– The film Karsh is History on TVO:

– Deanna Pizzitelli and Rachel Waugh’s exhibition, Youth, Sometimes at Galleria 814

– Darren Rigo’s Domestic Wilderness exhibition at Atelier 688.

(Really, we’re just excited about everything….) As a photographer, it’s amazing to go just about anywhere in Toronto and see new work.

What CONTACT events are you looking forward to?

Image Sources: Contact