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5 Exciting Photography Exhibitions to Look For at Festival X

5 Exciting Photography Exhibitions to Look For at Festival X


By Adam Slight

With the Ottawa International Animation Festival and Nuit Blanche both taking place in Ottawa this weekend, your cultural development plate may be heaping full as it is. But don’t forget to check out the Ottawa Photography Festival that is also running this weekend just about everywhere in the city (although, it is also running all next week as well!). I’ve compiled a list of my most anticipated exhibitions below, in case you want to see some festival highlights.

All you aspiring photographers: Put down your Instagraphs and check some of these guys out!

Yousuf Karsh: My Ottawa

Who: Yousuf Karsh, City of Ottawa Archives

Where: City of Ottawa Archives

In a celebration of Ottawa photographer Yousuf Karsh, the City of Ottawa Archives are releasing a series of never-before-seen celebrity portraits taken by the photographer between 1935 and 1985. This exhibition will provide a cool new look into Ottawa’s

history and its prominent figures.

Dans la peau de Mao

Who: Nathalie Daoust

Where: Centre D’Exposition Art-Image et Espace Odyssee

In almost staunch opposition of Karsh’s presentation, Daoust’s exhibition is described as a “the interior world of a impersonator, who assumes the appearance and bearing of Mao Zedong.” That just about sums up this exhibition which shows the soviet revolutionary and founder of the People’s Republic of China being impersonated in very convincingly historical-looking photographs. I always like these kinds of quirky projects (Reminds me of the documentary Confessions of a Superhero). I also like when people mess around and create convincing fake historical documents. Its just nice and mischievous.


Who: Leslie Hossack

Where: Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum

As a part of a larger project about Nazi and Stalinist architecture, Fallout recollects the artist’s first-hand memories of the Cold War, which was as real in Canada (especially during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which she remembers vividly), as anywhere else in the world. The haunting and clinical images of Cold War bunker architecture I think would be awesome to experience in the Diefenbunker; an actual Cold War bunker.

Les filles du roi’

Who: Genevieve Thauvette

Where: Galerie St-Laurent + Hill

This exhibition intrigues me, not only because its images are bizarre and striking, but because I am so ignorant of the subject matter (and should therefore educate myself!) Apparently in the 17th Century, King Louis XVI of France sent 800 women (orphans and widows) to Canada to be brides of statesmen (along with royal dowries). These women helped triple the French colony’s population and secured France’s foothold in North America. On average, these women were wed within 5 months of their arrival in Canada and would bear 9 children. Isn’t that crazy? This exhibition chronicles their journey and honours these women who are often mis-perceived by history as prostitutes.


Who: Terry SanCartier

Where: Exposure Gallery

I always like a good photograph that takes something real in the world and presents it in a way that makes it appear abstract, and lets you appreciate the object for its shapes and colours instead of what it actually is. That is why I included Terry SanCartier’s Ascension on this list. SanCartier encourages viewers to attempt to look beyond the surface of his images and find the unseen within them (not too sure what that means, but go to town!)


Do you know of any other festival exhibitions that you think I should check out?

The Ottawa Photography Festival, or Festival X is located at gallery spaces all over Ottawa running from September 20th to September 30th. To see a full list of exhibitions check out the festival website at