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Exposure 2012: Insight in Alberta

Alberta’s largest annual photography event, Exposure—encompassing venues in Calgary, Banff and Canmore—is having its biggest festival ever this February, hosting more than 50 shows and events across more than 40 sites.

Wes Lafortune, the festival’s co-ordinator, says via email that Exposure attracted 30,000 participants and gallery-goers last year, a number the event hopes will grow in its eighth year with its first forays into public spaces.

If you’re in Calgary, it’s worth visiting the Brentwood and Chinook C-Train stations to see large mural-sized works by award-winning Alberta documentary photographer Larry Louie. The works, part of Louie’s A Working Day in Dhaka, Bangladesh series, provide an opportunity to consider the festival’s theme of “insight”—a trope Louie is also well familiar with in his other career as an optometrist and supporter of international blindness-prevention initiatives.

Also worth checking out is Winnipeg-based photographer Diana Thorneycroft’s series A People’s History at the Art Gallery of Calgary, which uses arrangements of toys make visible some of the darker aspects of Canadian heritage, like the execution of Louis Riel. And fans of Edward Burtynsky should stop in at the Glenbow Museum for “Encounters,” which sees a diverse group of 30 Canadians—Grade 5 students, Olympic swimmers, CBC hosts and more—act as guest curators, with each selecting one photograph and providing a written reflection on it.

In Banff, Whyte Museum gallery-goers are treated to an exhibition, “The Bread with Honey,” featuring recent work by Canmore’s Andrew Querner. These photographs, many with muted palettes, look at the declining mining industry in Kosovo. Those who find themselves in Canmore proper will witness David Foxcroft’s “Cranes, Grids and Tarps” exhibition at the Edge Gallery, consisting of colourful photo collage works.

Throughout the festival, participants will have the opportunity to engage in various workshops and discussions, including outdoor projections of Rocky Mountain archival photographs on February 10 and a talk by Thorneycroft on February 16. The closing party will take place February 24 at Art Central in downtown Calgary.

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