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The Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is an interesting experience altogether, taking photography to a whole new and captivating level. The open exhibitions, lectures and Live Spatial Projections have made staring at images so much more thrilling.

Taking the Organik, Alembic, Abstrakts by Blaine Speigel, for instance, a presentation set in a Live Spatial Projection at 918 Bathurst Venue – a centre supporting Culture, Arts, Media and Education.

I arrived for the opening at 7PM to be welcomed by colourful images in a magical, almost surreal environment. More pictures after the jump.

The exhibition was set in a large cathedral like room, thrust in complete obscurity, with the only light coming from multiple projections of film-based images made through a variety of photographic and alchemical processes, which Speigel later explained during our conversation. A DJ playing live ambient sounds, added to the surreal and magical experience as beautiful and colourful images succeeded each other.

One fashion mind couldn’t help but think about a potential collaboration between the photographer and a Fashion designer, to create fabulous prints, using Speigel’s stunning chemically altered images, for an avant-garde take on the current gardenia trend.

Speigel then introduced me to fellow photographer Osheen Harruthoonyan, who was opening his Nocturna Artificialia exhibition of sumptuous photographic prints in a separate room. Osheen’s work presented a meditation on mortality, employing a diverse vocabulary of imagery. Quite impressive for a self-taught who combines traditional large-format photography with a variety of analog photo manipulation techniques.

The countless hours spent in the darkroom clearly paid off. Sepia, gold selenium toned gelatin silver prints reigned supreme. Powerful yet minimalist, modern with something nostalgic, ideal for a chic and modern interior decoration. Admirers strolling through the gallery clearly pleased, congratulated Osheen.

What a sensory satisfaction this photography moment was, from the avant-garde Speigel to the classic Osheen, it was something worth experimenting. A stop at LONSDALE GALLERY for more on their work is highly recommended.

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