A photographic dialogue about Toronto by Toronto on the TTC

Presented to more than one million daily commuters in the Toronto subway system throughout the month of May, Contacting Toronto: We’re in This Together is a two-part exhibition created especially for the TTC subway system, making strategic use of both Pattison subway platform posters and the network of Pattison Onestop subway screens. An official public installation of Scotiabank CONTACT, this exhibition transforms public space and the commuter experience.

Dedicated ‘Art Zone’ Screens, featuring only Contacting Toronto, uninterrupted by the usual news and advertisements, are active from May 1 -7, and are located at Bloor, Dundas and St. Andrew stations.

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Subway platform posters in 60 stations will feature the work of six Toronto-based photographers, each with a unique view of the city’s strengths and weaknesses, beauty and secrets. Reflecting Toronto’s multiplicity, each work connects to the concept of community. Alyssa Bistonath’s portraiture exudes warmth and shared intimacy; Ruth Kaplan photographs people within communities of acceptance; Aaron Vincent Elkaim’s street photography illuminates but does not define the people he photographs; Brent Lewin makes images about social issues and cultural conditions; Debra Friedman’s double portraits allow for both tenderness and tension; and Robert Poulton makes photographs that focus on cultural transitions.

The photographic dialogue continues on the subway LCD screens, showcasing images submitted by the public which consider the meaning of We’re in this Together. The images selected from this open call reflect upon personal relationships, the city’s myriad and ever-shifting communities, current political and economic realities, geographical boundaries, and ecological uncertainties. A different photo will be featured once every five minutes on more than 300 locations across the TTC, with new submissions added to the mix daily.

We’re in this Together allows us all to share our impressions about what it’s like to live together in Toronto.

Curated by Sharon Switzer. This exhibition is co-produced by Art for Commuters and Pattison Onestop in partnership with CONTACT Photography Festival. Supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

For more information contact:

Marie Nazar, Arts Publicist, Pattison Onestop - mnazar@idirect.ca


Images selected from this open call to Toronto reflect upon personal relationships, the city’s myriad and ever-shifting communities, current political and economic realities, geographical boundaries, and ecological uncertainties.

Photographs can be submitted for display on the TTC as part of this project until May 30, 2012. Submissions must be made through our Contacting Toronto flickr group.

To leave a comment or take part in a discussion please visit our Contacting Toronto flickr group.

www.flickr.com/groups/contactingtoronto

Alyssa Bistonath

Bio + Artist Statement

Artist Bio

Alyssa Bistonath’s fascination with images, narrative, poetry and pursuit of social justice are the guiding force behind her body of work. Since completing her BFA at Ryerson University, Alyssa has been recognized as an emerging talent by the Magenta and Lucie Foundations. Most recently, her fine art photographs have been auctioned at Snap! 2011, featured in a public art display during the 2010 Flash Forward Festival, and exhibited at the University of Toronto during the 2010 Contact Photo Festival. This year Alyssa most looks forward to hand-crafting a limited edition book of her series The Loved Ones.

Artist Statement

The Loved Ones studies human postures that convey intimacy and evoke gentleness. As North Americans, my experience is that we only permit intimacy intermittently. Photographing my own community provides me with a way to engage with the lives of those within it. It is appealing to revisit people, places and stories, until a rhythm of intimacy and vulnerability is captured in the imagery. Special thanks to Emily, Melissa, Dave, and Curt for participating in the series and Pattison Onestop for organizing the exhibition.

Artist Contact

www.alyssabistonath.com

Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Bio + Artist Statement

Artist Bio

Aaron Vincent Elkaim believes in the power of images to move, inform, and create change. This Winnipegger, now based in Toronto, is an award winning documentary photographer. He approaches his work from an anthropological viewpoint with a focus on cultural and historical stories that reflect his own passions, feelings and interests. The human condition, the past and the future are all part of a body of work that crosses the globe and engages the mind. Aaron's images represent a love of seeing bolstered by belief that others gain not only objective knowledge from his stories, but crucial personal perspective.

Artist Statement

The images I am showing as part of Contacting Toronto reflect my interest in what is revealed through the voyeuristic lens of Street Photography. As individuals we are often stuck inside our own realities while being ignorant of the other realities that constantly surround us. By isolating the individual within the public domain I seek to reveal an aspect of these humanistic and societal realities by capturing what emanates from these individuals at a particular moment in time. We are all in this together…. So what can we learn from one another?

Artist Contact

www.avephoto.ca
www.borealcollective.com

Debra Friedman

Bio + Artist Statement

Artist Bio

Debra Friedman is an established and internationally exhibited photographer and educator living in Toronto, Canada. She is the recipient of numerous awards from The Polaroid Corporation, The Canada Council and The Ontario Arts Council. She lives in Toronto with her husband, Robert and her children, Nathan, Joseph and Eli.

Artist Statement

Careful, Portraits of Aging with Professional Companions.The project Careful developed out of my own parents aging and their increasing reliance on caregivers day and night. In particular, my Mother's reliance on her caregiver was shifting largely from her dependence on my father. Like all the caregivers and clients I have been photographing, the pair are companions in many ways, with the caregiver providing a kind of physical and emotional nurturing that goes well beyond the dictates of the job. On the caregiver side, it is their livelihood. But clearly it is more than that. Besides very intimate physical tasks, I have seen some of the emotional complexity of true relationships – tenderness to be sure – but also measures of frustration, disappointment, irritation on both sides as the caregiver works to make life manageable and joyful as the world around their clients shrinks.

I would like to thank Aviva Babins, Museum coordinator at Baycrest for her assistance.

Artist Contact

www.debrafriedman.com

Ruth Kaplan

Bio + Artist Statement

Artist Bio

Ruth Kaplan is a documentary-based photographer whose work explores a variety of themes including bathers in hot springs and participants in rituals of spirituality. Drawn toward the theatre of social behaviour expressed through physicality, her work describes intimacy within a public sphere. She has received numerous Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council grants and National Magazine Awards and has exhibited widely. She is currently a photography instructor in Toronto, and is represented by the Stephen Bulger Gallery.

Artist Statement

“Some Kind of Divine” is an exploration of the nature of religious faith in the context of certainty and doubt. By photographing manifestations of faith through the physicality of practitioners, gestures of religious transcendence, I present the exaggerated pose of believers. The large prints are intended to be declarative and to create an atmosphere of the spectacle as well as intimacy. The small worlds of church within our large, fragmented city were surprising at first. I immediately felt the social and physical warmth and a refreshing lack of boundaries between strangers. There was a vibrant, out-of-control atmosphere in which people, encouraged to release emotion, would act out as players on a stage and at times as something more primal. For me it was cathartic.

Thank you to Rhema Christian Ministries (www.rhemaonline.ca, 40 Carl Hall Road, Downsview Park, Toronto M3K 2C1), Faith Impact Ministry (www.faithimpactministry.com, 1780 St.Clair Avenue West, Toronto M6N 1J5) and Deus e Amor Church, for their hospitality and generosity in sharing what is intimate.

Artist Contact

www.ruthkaplanphoto.com
http://www.bulgergallery.com/dynamic/fr_artist.asp?ArtistID=13
http://www.visuramagazine.com/ruth-kaplan-some-kind-of-devine

Brent Lewin

Bio + Artist Statement

Artist Bio

Brent Lewin (b. 1979, Canada) is a self-taught photographer currently residing in Toronto and Bangkok. His past work has largely focused on the plight of the Asian elephant and their caregivers in Thailand. Brent's work has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, New York Times, Discovery Channel Magazine and Newsweek. His work with elephants has been awarded by Pictures of the Year International, Prix de la Photographie Paris (Px3), the International Photography Awards, American Photo and the Applied Arts Photo Annual. He was also selected by Photo District News as one of the PDN 30 photographers in 2010.

Artist Statement

We have grown accustomed to an unprecedented level of consumption. So commonplace is this endless stream of goods that this has become a frame of reference for many of us with no recollection of a time when we didn’t need quite so much. Door-to-door visits by waste removal, recycling and compost trucks relieve each home of the end products of this consumption. This allows us to avoid acknowledging the sheer scale of the levels of consumption that characterize the world’s most prosperous nations, including Canada. The images in the series Want Not, Waste Not were photographed at various tipping floors in the greater Toronto area. They are simple images with a simple message: humans produce an enormous amount of waste, and it does not disappear when it leaves one’s front lawn.

Artist Contact

www.brentlewin.com

Robert Poulton

Bio + Artist Statement

Artist Bio

Robert Poulton is an award-winning editorial, documentary and fine-art photographer based in Toronto. An obsessed traveler and anthropology keener, Robert’s portfolio quickly became a documentation of the human condition and cultural transitions. Working predominately with NGO’s & Charities, Robert is now producing exploratory projects on the sustainability of culture. From its undaunted evolution, to its moments of quiet revolution and it’s valiant struggle to retain its heritage in a furiously uniting and integrating world. Our culture and heritage can bring us happiness and peace, or drive us to fight for justice and change. Robert uncovers and documents these stories worldwide.

Artist Statement

Although the career landscape will forever be changing, no generation since the industrial revolution has seen as much change as ours. Broad skill sets are a necessity, computer and software knowledge is a must, and the trades our elders put their sweat and backbones in to are on the brink of being considered archaic. A new breed of "knowledge workers" is being educated and groomed, while manual competency is on a decline. This photo series was created to honour those that understand the value of traditional skills and aren't afraid to follow a career path you won't be taught in university, and make a living with your hands.

Artist Contact

www.rpoulton.com

Past Years

2011
Tomorrow is yesterday

2010
What's The Hype?

2009
What's Your Revolution?

2008
Memories for the City

2007
Transit Stories