Flash Photographic Festival encourages exploring the city
Ashlyn Peterson, CONTRIBUTOR
The Exchange District is becoming a popular hot spot for Winnipeg events. Art, literature, jazz music, theatre productions, and now photography are all bringing foot traffic into the area.
For the month of October, the Flash Photographic Festival will be taking over Winnipeg. The third annual event features over 100 Manitoba photographers. Their work will be featured in 53 venues around the province, primarily in Winnipeg but also in Selkirk, Gimli, and Elm Creek. Of those venues, 18 of them are in the Exchange District area.
Leif Norman, executive director of Flash, said the venues play a large role in the festival’s appeal.
“It’s all about accessibility, getting to know ourselves within our own city,” said Norman.
For those who have never been to the festival, Norman recommends starting near the heart of the Exchange District, then starting your own walking tour.
“I would say start at Haberdashery. Jon Adaskin’s wet plates are amazing,” said Norman.
“If you stand at the corner of Albert and McDermot and look around, it’s all there. There’s excellent restaurants and all of our venues. 10 venues [can be seen] from that intersection” added Norman.
The festival displays a wide variety of content. The subject matter has no boundaries, and according to Norman, the festival does not have a selection committee or rejection policy, so any- one who is interested in showing their work is welcome to join.
Ed Mathis, a local photographer whose work is on display in a collection at Warehouse Artworks on McDermot Avenue, said he thinks the festival gives people the chance to get off their smart devices.
“People don’t get out to experience the city enough,” said Mathis. “They’re too busy playing Pokémon.”
Mathis tries to visit every venue in the festival. It’s his second year contributing work and he says Flash continues to grow.
For the directors of the festival, the attendance numbers aren’t important. The focus is on creating an opportunity for photographers to show off their work, for local businesses to be involved, and for photography, as an art form to be in the spotlight.
“I think the benefit [of the festival] is that hopefully people will go into places, hats store, restaurants, shoes shops, that they’ve never been to,” said Norman. “They get to focus on photography for a little bit.”
All of the Flash venues are free to visit. During October, there are also group walking tours around downtown Winnipeg, and a variety of lecture series to enjoy.