Reinvented Events: CONTACT Photography Festival (take two)

[May 6, 2021]

A twenty-fifth edition shouldn’t be just one more event. The twenty-fifth edition of CONTACT, the Toronto photography festival born in 1996, had an air of renewal, due to the public health context. Without an opening date – “dates pending,” we read – most of the exhibitions will end up stretching beyond the festival’s usual month of May. Among them is Jeff Bierk’s photographic series For Jimmy, made for and with a friend who lives in the street. These portraits honour the resilience needed to survive in precarity. New this year: podcasts that can be downloaded at home or on the site of the projects on display. It’s yet another way to stay in touch in these difficult times – to let the images transport us to another, better place. “There is still much to celebrate,” the festival states, “not least of which is the vital role that art has played in keeping our spirits afloat and our minds engaged . . . resilience that art engenders; and the community, creativity, and hope that it elicits.”

Jeff Bierk & Jimmy James Evans, For Jimmy, Dupont Street, Toronto, 2021. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid