Arctic Exposure: Photographs of Canada’s North brought together images made between 1881 and 2013, revealing an ongoing fascination with the peoples, places, and mythologies of the North. These visual documents reinforce the power of photographs to generate a compelling sense of empathy and reverence for a place that remains far from reach for most people.
Canadian identity is strongly tied to the North, yet impressions of this vast, remote, and desolate place have largely been formed through the viewing of photography. Nearly two hundred years have passed since photographs of the Arctic were first taken; a history marked by considerable cultural shifts and changes in image making and production technologies.
Arctic Exposure was organized around two subthemes, the first of which focused on the Inuit and featured the work of historical photographers from the late nineteenth to mid twentieth centuries—both professional and amateur—including Major Lachlan T. Burwash, Robert J. Flaherty, and Richard Harrington.
The second theme juxtaposes contemporary views of the Arctic by Donovan Wylie of Magnum Photos, Inuk photographer Jimmy Manning, and Canadian ethnographer Norman Hallendy. Hallendy’s photographs of “inuksuit”, stone constructions made by the Inuit, are particularly arresting.
Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. Curated by Sharona Adamowicz-Clements and Bonnie Rubenstein