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Exposure Photography Festival wraps up another year

By Troy Hasselman, March 1 2019

The Exposure Photography Festival capped off another year of exhibitions with its closing gala, celebrating the work from this year’s festival.

The festival has grown dramatically since its beginnings in 2004. It’s attendance averages over 30,000 people annually, with its growth only continuing this year.

“The festival’s definitely bigger this year,” says festival coordinator Lizzie Carr. “We have more exhibitions, workshops, seminars and events this year, we have more sponsors this year as well. So that just ramps everything up”

This growth in the festival is reflected in the types of exhibits it displays, which have become more varied throughout the years, leading to a more diverse lineup now in comparison to the earlier years of the festival.

“I would say there’s more diversity in the photography, not just in the subject matter and approaches, but actually of the photographers too,” explains Carr. “We have a more diverse range of photographers and different backgrounds this year.”

While the festival continues to grow, the goal for the organizers going into the future is to further increase its scale to a more province-wide event.

“Right now, our biggest goal is to make the festival sustainable,” says Carr. “We have so many passionate photographers and photography enthusiasts in the community that they’re starting to rally together. The festival is becoming huge. It’s Alberta’s photography festival but we have a primary focus in Calgary. That’s starting to expand now.”

This years Emerging Artist Prize was awarded to Calgary photographer Boon Ong, who had pieces displayed at Pioneer Place that served as the Festival Headquarters for 2019. Winning the prize gives Ong a solo exhibition for next year’s festival. Granting a platform to the local photographer in a festival that acts as one of our cities best showcases of local photography.

“The festival is important in terms of creating a platform for photography to be seen in Calgary on a regular basis. Every February, galleries expect photography is going to be featured in Calgary and throughout the province,” says Dona Schwartz, the president and chair of the festival’s board of directors. “The festival provides a platform for photographers to exhibit their work, for audiences to see their work, for there to be conversations about photography and the festival also brings in work from international photographers so it expands the dialogue that takes place.”

Artists interested in applying to next year’s FENCE exhibition — an annual feature of the festival — should move quickly, as the FENCE application deadline is March 11. More information can be found on the festival’s website, exposurefestival.com.

Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly listed the application deadline for next year’s Exposure festival as March 11. Actually, this is the application deadline for applications to the FENCE exhibition. This error has since been corrected. The Gauntlet apologizes to its readers for this error.

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