It’s official! The 2012 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, now in its 16th edition, has taken over Toronto. The month-long event showcases hundreds of public installations and exhibitions at 200 venues throughout the city. This year’s theme is “Public” which brings attention to social and political issues. In additional to featuring international and local artists the festival also offers portfolio reviews, workshops, seminars as well as co-presenting documentaries on photography with the Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival.

Below is a quick selection of what not to miss. For the full listings visit the website and enjoy the festival!

(these are excerpts from the website)

Public: Collective Identity | Occupied Spaces

This two-venue exhibition, “Public: Collective Identity | Occupied Spaces”, brings together images from around the world to explore the ways we perform and articulate our identity in public, and the tensions that arise from the occupation of public space. In an age of social media, global urbanization, protest and revolution, photography plays a crucial role in mediating our understanding of socio-political issues and conflicts. From street photography to appropriated web imagery, conflict photojournalism to conceptual projects, the works in this show challenge and redefine our perception of the public sphere.

The artists showing at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art expand the boundaries of street practice and the shifting parameters of public space to make visible unseen aspects of urban existence.

Public: Collective Identity | Occupied Spaces
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
(952 Queen St W)








Public: Collective Identity | Occupied Spaces
University of Toronto Art Centre
(15 King’s College Circle)








Berenice Abbott: Photographs
Art Gallery of Ontario
(317 Dundas St W)

Featuring more than 120 photographs, and a selection of books and documents never-before-shown, this is the first exhibition in Canada to cover the many facets of the American photographer, Berenice Abbott (1898 – 1991).


Lynne Cohen: Nothing Is Hidden
Design Exchange
(234 Bay St )

Scotiabank Photography Award 2011 Winner Exhibition. With the exception of a handful of architectural exteriors dating from the early 1970s Lynne Cohen’s art has largely been confined to investigating the interiors of domestic, industrial, leisure, and educational institutions. Her cool, deliberate, beautiful, and intriguing images, precisely executed, and infused with uninflected light, reveal a great deal about the scope and limitations of our abilities to control chaos and make sense of the external world.


Larry Towell, Donovan Wylie Afghanistan
Institute for Contemporary Culture, Royal Ontario Museum
(100 Queen’s Park)

This exhibition brings together recent images by Larry Towell and Donovan Wylie, two acclaimed Magnum photographers who have explored the consequences of the armed conflict in Afghanistan from very different perspectives.








Sleeping Soldiers – Tim Hetherington
Billboards on Lansdowne Ave at Dundas St & College St and across Canada

In remembrance of the British/American photojournalist and filmmaker, Tim Hetherington, who was killed in April 2011 while on assignment in the besieged city of Misrata, Libya, the Festival presents Sleeping Soldiers.


Glass Ceiling – Jill Greenberg
O’Born Contemporary
(131 Ossington Ave)

Jill Greenberg’s Glass Ceiling project is about the “setup” of being a woman. Working with a synchronized swim team, Greenberg photographs the women in their their work attire—swimsuits—with the addition of high heels.

Toronto Transformed – Harry Enchin
Akasha Art Projects
(511 Church Street St 200)

This portrayal of Toronto merges the present day with yesteryear. These photographic collages juxtapose street photographs from 2008–2011 with documentary images from the City of Toronto Archives.


50 Years of The Rolling Stones: A Rock & Roll Retrospective
Analogue Gallery
(673 Queen St W)

Celebrating 50 years of The Rolling Stones, Analogue Gallery presents a retrospective of stunning images from some of rock and roll’s finest photo­graphers.


Life In Stills

Ben and his grandmother Miriam, late photographer Rudi Weissenstein’s 96-year-old widow, decide to join forces when the municipality announces plans to demolish Pri-Or, Weissenstein’s landmark photo studio, to make way for a new six-floor residential development in Tel Aviv.


Chasing Ice

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed National Geographic photographer James Balog was dispatched to the Arctic on a tricky assignment: to capture images that tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate.


Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

China’s most famous international artist, Ai Weiwei, is shown with unprecedented access in this Sundance special jury prize-winning portrait. Artistic consultant for the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics and named the most powerful contemporary artist by ArtReview magazine, Ai gained worldwide attention after his arrest and two-month detention by Chinese authorities last year.