Southern Alberta’s annual festival of photo-based art, Exposure, kicked off this week with the theme “Where We Are: A Sense of Place” and more than 30 exhibitions across Calgary, Canmore and Banff—an area which, given its touristed Rockies, is perhaps one of the most photographed places on earth. New initiatives for the February-long festival include an emerging artist award and evenings of outdoor wall projections, sure to be discussed during the official festival launch February 5 at the Whyte Museum. As usual, several exhibitions intrigue: Truck’s “Roundel” is a fresh take on surveillance that features a 360-degree image-capture machine by Quebec artist Pascal Dufaux and circular panoramic composites by well-known local M.N. Hutchinson; Trépanier Baer’s viewing room focuses on the evocative, often-abstract, camera-less photography of Alison Rossiter; the Art Gallery of Calgary’s pairing of Katherine L. Lannin’s Pile Project and d. bradley muir’s Dream Home series suggests reconsiderations of domestic-interior genres; and Weiss Gallery’s look at Colin Smith’s camera obscura approach, which strongly recalls James Nizam’s well-regarded Anteroom Series but takes a more Ansel-Adamsish tack, subbing beautiful wilderness for dank demolition zones.
There’s also some worthwhile events on the roster, including the February 14 launch of a “micro-cinema” at the Epcor Centre; a February 15 ACAD panel on the future of photography; a February 17 conversation between Althea Thauberger and Kitty Scott at the Glenbow Museum; a February 20 talk by New Yorker contributing photographer Sylvia Plachy at Canmore Collegiate; and, last but not least, a closing reception for the festival February 25 at the Art Gallery of Calgary. In all, this year’s Exposure promises to map a temporary territory for photography that’s both popular and profound.