Festival Archive

James Mollison, James and Other Apes, 2004 © James Mollison, courtesy Chris Boot

Questioning Truth in Photography

We open the 9th annual Toronto photography festival with a question that has been debated since the creation of the lens and continues to perplex us as technology expands the possibilities of image making. Photography’s relationship to reality is continually transformed as we stage, fabricate and replicate scenes which, on first glance, appear to be taken straight from reality – but are they truthful representations? CONTACT 2005 explores this question through exhibitions, films, events and installations highlighting the relationship between vision and knowledge. With over 400 Canadian and international artists exhibiting at more than 170 venues, CONTACT challenges the ability of photographs to reflect the truth and the ingenuity of our audience to interpret them.

As the distinction between photojournalism and art blurs, the emotional power of the photograph continues to expand. Stripped of the captions traditionally used to guide the viewer, public installations of photography on the street and in the subway animate city spaces in thought-provoking ways. The festival’s 21 feature exhibitions, selected by a jury from an open call, reflect the strength and diversity of photography in this year’s festival. Essays by prominent writers, illustrated with compelling pictures, eloquently articulate the questions underlying our theme. Our international film programme, “presenting truth at 24 frames per second,” follows photojournalists risking their lives to expose injustice, explores obsessions with photography and examines the world of celebrities, style and fashion.

We are very grateful for the support of Hewlett-Packard Canada, our premier sponsor and true partner in the presentation of exceptional photographs throughout the city. We are proud to offer limited edition prints for sale in support of festival programming – you’ll find details on our website. Our sincere thanks also to Fashion Television Channel, our exclusive broadcast sponsor and First Light Associated Photographers for their dedication and support.

Special thanks to everyone involved in CONTACT: the artists and photographers, filmmakers, writers, venues, education partners, funding organizations, supporters and advertisers, and the CONTACT board of directors, staff and volunteers. All have sustained our endeavour – questioning truth in photography – and now lead us in our search for the answer.

—Bonnie Rubenstein, Festival Director