The art of storytelling: A journey through 2023’s Exposure Photography Festival
Megan Creig, Layout Editor
From the captivatingly conceptual to poignant human experiences, this year’s Exposure Photography Festival introduces the work and unique perspectives of over 150 artists. The many exhibitions can be viewed from Feb. 3 to 16 at locations throughout Calgary and Alberta.
Both the Exposure 2023 International Open Call and the Exposure 2023 Emerging Photographers Showcase are being exhibited at Contemporary Calgary. Also on display is “We Are Immigrants,” the work of 2022’s emerging artist Raenn Cheung.
These first two exhibitions feature a total of 15 artists each. The Emerging Photographers Showcase gives exposure to fine art photographers here in Alberta, whereas this year’s International Open Call invites artists hailing from various countries including the U.S., U.K., Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, France and Iceland.
Among the more veteran artists are Canadians Anthony Gebrehiwot, Jaiden George, Khim Hipol and Shanen Louis. They are joined by Glenna Jennings, Jake Eshelman, Kelly O’Brien, Leia Ankers, Linda Heiss, Panos Charalampidis and Mary Chairetaki, Sarah Christianson, Sarah Mei Herman, Serena Dzenis, Takako Kido and Valerio Geraci.
Allof the photographers are accomplished in their own right but it is their distinctive perspective and choices that sets them apart. Some of the photographers in particular stood out for me.
A close-up of some of the shots
Shanen Louis’ “Can you see me?” encourages a shift of perspective on the human form and the “naked” subject—especially when that subject is a Black woman. It lets the audience see these women authentically, as they are.
Sarah Christianson does the crucial work of documenting the legacy of oil booms and busts so that we have no choice but to address what world we are leaving behind for future generations.
Takako Kido introduces the term “skinship”—a word that at its most basic definition describes familiar intimacy but can be better understood by just merely experiencing the bonds so blatantly on display in her work.
The artists of the Emerging Photographers Showcase also brought their own valuable perspectives to the table with images ranging from themes of self-identity and political commentary to memory and perspective.
These and the greater selection of images on display work to prove that photography is a medium not just meant for documentation but one capable of challenging perspectives and evoking deep emotion or thought.
The 2023 Exposure Photography Festival is a true celebration of the power of photography. The festival invites us to take a step back and reconsider our perspectives. From captivating concepts to poignant human experiences, the exhibitions at this festival are a testament to the fact that photography is not just a tool for documenting the world around us, but a powerful medium for challenging our beliefs, inspiring self-reflection, and evoking deep feelings.
With so much to see and explore, this year’s festival is an opportunity not to be missed.