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Exposure Festival a long running tradition

“It’s a celebration of the photographic arts."

BOW VALLEY – Rejoicing in the beauty of photography, the Exposure Photography Festival will be shooting into the Bow Valley this week.

The festival celebrates the medium of photography and features exhibits in Calgary, Banff, Canmore, Medicine Hat and Cochrane, coordinator Beth Kane said.

“It’s really accessible to large audiences who basically want to get involved with the arts and photography scene,” Kane said. “It connects the creative community in Calgary, Banff, Canmore and throughout Alberta.”

During the festival, there are 24 events and 40 exhibitions to see across the province. Events range from artist talks to exhibition opening parties, career development opportunities and more.

“I strongly suggest that people attend the opening where they can meet the artists, talk to fellow people that also practice in the medium of photography … it’s just a great way to connect with people,” Kane said.

Exposure will be an exciting experience for locals, Kane said, because people can visit four exhibitions in the Bow Valley. 

In Canmore, the festival will be featuring the exhibit Faces at the Three Sisters Gallery, the exhibit Personal Visions at the Canmore Art Guild Gallery and in Banff guests can visit Danny Singer’s solo show and Projecting Illusions at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

The Whyte Museum's exhibits span across the history of photography dividing its main gallery in half to feature two shows that ran the gambit of time.

“I think the juxtaposition between … Danny Singer's photographs of landscapes and these minute little things [lantern slides] is going to be very interesting,” chief curator of art and heritage at the museum Anne Ewan said.

She added that guests will be able to appreciate the majesty of Singer’s large stunning panoramic views of the prairies paired with the more intimate slides the have travelled across history.

The Exposure Photography Festival has special meaning for the Whyte Museum, as the institution initiated it, Ewen said.

Participating in the festival is part of the continued legacy of the museum's founders Peter and Catharine Whyte, Ewan said, and their commitment to fostering innovation, ingenuity, creativity and the arts.

“We like to bring in artists that people in the valley or the region haven’t seen very much of,” Ewen said.

Archivist Nicole Ensing designed the exhibit Projecting Illusions drawing on artifacts that come exclusively from the museum’s archives.

Ewen said that working with the Whyte Museums archive and library offers an opportunity to dive into a beautiful art collection that can capture how photography has changed over the ages.

Projecting Illusions will feature a selection of lantern slides from its archives, Ensing said, explaining that she hopes the exhibit will inspire people to rethink how images can transcend time and give a deeper sense of understanding of how images capture a person’s place in the world.

The exhibit focuses on lantern slides and will feature a historic magic lantern, an early version of the projector developed in the 1600s and began incorporating photographs in the mid-1800s.

“That would be your entertainment … it was something that everyone could access,” Ensing said. “As they came along they became more than just entertainment – it became a way to trade with people and on a trip, people would purchase a lantern slide to represent a trip to Greece, or to the Rocky Mountains for instance.”

The slides will be presented in numerous ways in the exhibit, Ensing added, including projected on the wall, in frames and on light tables.

The second exhibit features the work of visiting artist Singer, who hails from Vancouver.

Singer has gained international acclaim travelling across the Midwest of Canada and the United States capturing panoramic images of small towns.

“They’re absolutely stunning,” Ewen said, explaining that Singer’s photos capture the overwhelming majesty of the vast prairie skies.

The Whyte Museum will be hosting a lantern slide workshop in February during Exposure. The opening for the exhibit takes place on Friday (Jan. 31) at 7 p.m. and Singer will be in attendance. He will also be hosting a talk at 2 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 1). 

Photographer Kevin McCormick organized the Personal Visions exhibit featured at Canmore Art Guild Gallery.

“It [the exhibit] reflects your views from your photographer's perspective,” McCormick said. “It’s finding places that really reflect what you do.”

He added that the event serves as a great place to connect and discover what inspires photographers.

The festival gives people a chance to learn more about photography, he said, adding that he encourages people to stop by the gallery to learn more about the art form.

“Ask the photographers how they arrived at what they did and maybe you’ll come away with a better appreciation of the art form,” McCormick said.

Artists will have between three and five works featured in the gallery for a total of around 30 images that will span a range of subjects filling the gallery.

Guest photographers Jon Huyer and Patrick McCloskey are featured in the show.

The opening reception for Personal Visions takes place on Jan. 31 from 7-9 p.m. at the Canmore Art Guild Gallery.

“It’s a celebration of the photographic arts,” McCormick said. “It’s the one chance where all the photographers can get together.”

Visit or more information about the Exposure Photography Festival.

Chelsea Kemp

About the Author: Chelsea Kemp

Chelsea Kemp joined the Cochrane Eagle in 2020 as editor, bringing with her experience as a reporter and photojournalist. She writes about politics, health care, arts and entertainment and Indigenous stories.
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