2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Photo courtesy of Nahanni McKay

Exposure Photography Festival grows in 2020

By Troy Hasselman, January 24 2020

Since its founding in 2004, the Exposure Photography Festival has grown exponentially. The Calgary-based festival celebrates photography in its various forms through numerous exhibitions and events. The festival has expanded beyond the limits of the city to hold exhibitions in Banff and Canmore and includes participants from around the country and the world.

The festival has partnered with numerous arts organizations within the city throughout its history and plans to partner with Contemporary Calgary this year. The gallery will act as Festival HQ and display the festivals feature exhibitions, including its international open call, Emerging Artists Photographers Showcase and a solo exhibition from 2019’s Emerging Photographer of the Year, Boon Ong.

Taken at Exposure Festival in 2019. // Photo by Mariah Wilson.

“The way this festival has grown is through partnering and having a continuing or new relationship with different arts organizations, venues, artists and photographers from Calgary, throughout Alberta and beyond,” says Festival Coordinator Bethany Kane. “That’s a key to the festival, is to include and work with as many organizations as possible that are working similarly to us or are excited about the festival and would like to collaborate.”

One new collaboration this year brings portfolio reviewers from outside the province to view the numerous exhibitions and take in the festival during its opening weekend.

“We’ve got Scott McLeod from Toronto, he’s the director of the Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art and also the Editor-in-Chief of Prefix magazine,” Kane says. “That’s really exciting that he’ll be part of the review. He’ll be here over the whole festival launch. There will be tons of exciting events going on throughout the weekend. We also have Sarah Allen from Tate Modern. She’ll be here as a reviewer throughout opening weekend hanging out, seeing what’s going and seeing what the festival’s all about and seeing the creative community we have here in Calgary.”

Elvis Parkin in his front room 2017. In common with many ETAs and fans, Parkin has a lot of memorabilia including boxes of fanzines and press cuttings dating back to his childhood. For people like him, Elvis has been a lifelong obsession. // Photo courtesy of Graeme Oxby.

One of the most notable exhibitions of this year’s festival is The FENCE, which the festival plans to present in partnership with Brooklyn’s United Photo Industries. The FENCE is a travelling exhibition which includes work from photographers from around the world and focuses on seven thematic categories — home, streets, people, creatures, nature, play and food. The version of the exhibition that will run at Exposure will also include the category of “The Western Regional,” which will be exclusive to the festival and contain work from eight Western Canadian photographers. 

“The FENCE exhibition is an outdoor public art piece which shows in different cities across North America such as Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Denver, Houston and Seattle,” Kane says. “The only location shown outside the United States is in Calgary. That’s super exciting as well that people in Calgary get a chance to see the exhibition and see The FENCE and participate as well.”

Taken at Exposure Festival in 2019. // Photo by Mariah Wilson.

A signature event of the festival is the Emerging Photographers Showcase, which showcases work from 15 photographers, who have been selected by jurors to be a part of the festival with the winner gaining the Emerging Artist Award.

“Each year we have an emerging photographer showcase and a call goes out and emerging artists from Alberta are able to submit their work to us,” Kane explains. “We have a jury who goes through their work and selects who they think are the best emerging practitioners of work in the province. This year, there are 15 practitioners and only one from each year gets the Emerging Photographer of the Year award.”

Photo courtesy of Angeline Simon.

The festival will include the first solo exhibition from Boon Ong, the winner of 2019’s Emerging Photographer award.

“We are excited to show his first ever solo exhibition at Exposure Festival and we’re really happy to support him this way and organize him and show his work,” Kane says. “It’s a great body of work and I think everyone should go see it.”

More than anything, Kane hopes to inject a festival atmosphere into the city by bringing together numerous organizations and aiming to have the festival appeal to as many people as possible.

“We want to have a festival feel throughout the city so it’s really important to collaborate with organizations and bring together a really rich program to celebrate photography and provide development opportunities for emerging practitioners, and also those who are slightly more established and support people going out and making photographs,” Kane says. “We want to bring in all sorts of audiences, whether it’s people that stumble across the festival on the streets of Calgary, or people that just go to Arts Commons and not Contemporary Calgary. We also want to include audiences that already support the photographic practice, be it academically or through the taking of photographs.”

The Exposure Photography Festival will run from Jan. 31–Feb. 29. The festival will open with a launch party at Contemporary Calgary that will run from 6–9 p.m. at Contemporary Calgary. For more information about the festival and its exhibitions, visit exposurephotofestival.com.

Photo courtesy of Peter Greendale

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet