For the love of photography

FLASH Photographic Festival finds an expanding home in Winnipeg

David Firman’s FLASH Photographic Festival exhibit “Night Atlas” on display at the Winnipeg Architecture Foundation in Winnipeg, Man.

Mike Sudoma

In its second year, the FLASH Photographic Festival has been met with growth and open arms. 

“The entire idea of FLASH was to sort of make Winnipeg, and Manitoba now, one entire photographic gallery for the month of October. So through some of the events and different methods, we’re trying to expose people to various aspects of photography,” FLASH program director Coralee Penner says.

Beginning Oct. 1, there will be 41 photography exhibitions – including seven group shows – in Winnipeg, one in Carmen and one in Portage la Prairie.

The festival was created out of a love for photography, but it wasn’t just that. 

Penner says part of the inspiration for the festival came to FLASH organizer Leif Norman from two other major Canadian photography festivals – Capture in Vancouver and Contact in Toronto. It also came from the lack of a prominent local festivals.

The recognition of this need for a local photography festival materialized in FLASH and the subsequent interest led to a broad range of photographers whose work spans a vast array of ideas and subjects, Penner says.

“I feel like throughout the reach of the venues and the photographers, there’s such a variety of different mediums being used, different cameras being used, different techniques being used,” Penner says. 

In addition to the exhibitions there will be educational events, like a book making presentation and cyanotype workshop, as well as social events where people can meet and mingle with others interested in photography.

One benefit of a festival like FLASH is that it creates an outlet for individuals and groups to exhibit their work and share ideas with the public in a prominent way.

“Having the opportunity to interact with things that we’ve done purely for the joy of photography and not for any business pursuits is really nice,” participating photographer Rebecca Schroeder says.

She also finds it helpful to get feedback from other artists and the general public, and to have more exposure as a photographer.

The festival has created a win-win situation for photographers, businesses and the general public alike.

Penner says she’s spoken to quite a few of the venues that are excited to be on board and have expressed interest in wanting to be part of the festival for years to come. 

In addition to everything else, for the entire month of October Cake-ology will be making camera cupcakes and Chocolatier Constance Popp will be making chocolate cameras, so you can satiate your sweet tooth and enthrall your visual senses as much as you’d like. 

Learn more about the FLASH Photographic Festival on its website,

Published in Volume 70, Number 4 of The Uniter (October 1, 2015)

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