Thu, 6 Feb 2014 — Sat, 1 Mar 2014
Vincent J. Varga, Guest Curator, 2014
Photography, video, and other lens-based imagery are now part of our cultural DNA. Perhaps this growing interest in the photo- graphic image should come as no surprise given the flood of imagery we deal with on a daily, minute-by-minute basis. Yet, our mind’s eye is perpetually scanning and looking for something of interest that rises above the common and everyday flood of brand pop culture imagery. Not only are these commercial images everywhere enticing us, we too are encouraged to add to the tsunami of visual culture with our cameras and smart phones. While being ubiquitous and engrained in our society, photography has the capacity to help us see the world in new ways.
Since the invention of photography practitioners have questioned, explored and examined numerous characteristics of the lens-based image that inform what has become known as the art of photography. For example, the intentionality of the photographer is made evident through ‘framing ‘ or the process of signifying what is of importance or significance through the composition, subject matter, and thematic content. Time-based imagery – whether it be 1/60th of a second or hours, days, or years – speaks not only to duration, but allegorically alludes to experience and further layering of evident and implied meaning. The choice of black and white or colour imagery confers and implies emotional and psychological immediacy and tone to the visual statement being made. Whether ‘found,’ created as a constructed montage, staged as a tableau, or Photoshopped into being, the image illustrates the enormous breadth and potential for the imagination.
In February 2005, Exposure, a festival dedicated to celebrating photography, was first presented in Banff, and Calgary. From its inception, Exposure has sought to include work from the international community of photographers and be responsive to the broad cross-section of approaches and traditions. Since that first iteration of this festival of lens based art, the Bow corridor has witnessed ten successive years of the excellent photo- graphy, increasing public attention and support for the Festival. Over the past decade more than 325 photographers have presented their work or conducted work- shops during this early winter festival. This number does not take into account the annual exhibitions organized by the Whyte Museum’s Through the Lens and the various educational institution group shows at, for example, the Alberta College of Art + Design and the University of Calgary.
Decade presents work drawn from the previous festivals and demonstrates the diversity of photographic methods practiced here. It pays tribute to the genesis of Exposure – to all who organized, curated, installed, and raised funds toward its success – and offers an overview of our community’s collective fascination with lens-based imagery. In so doing, it also recognizes the persistent vision of those photographers who painstakingly explore to make sense of and meaning in the world.