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The Female Lens focuses on women artists at this year’s Exposure Festival

Exposure, Alberta’s only photography festival, opens on Friday, Feb. 1 for its 15th year. The festival offers a number of exhibitions, talks, and workshops. So whether you’re there as a viewer, an aspiring photographer looking for inspiration and opportunities to hone your craft or how to jump into the art, there is something for you during the event.

If you’re looking for a “bad-ass collection of photography,” as co-curator and exhibitor Heather Saitz calls it, then the Christine Klassen Gallery’s The Female Lens is where you need to be.

Christine Klassen, the gallery’s owner, notes the #metoo and #timesup movements are part of the reason the gallery decided to focus on women artists during Exposure. Klassen says initially they weren’t sure if #timesup and The Female Lens were necessarily something that were in lockstep, but “the more I thought about it, the more it made sense,” she says. “I just thought, ‘YEAH! Let’s bang that drum!’ ”

The idea is to celebrate and cheer the work of these women, while noting that they all have very different approaches and inspiration. And, it is a unique opportunity to see a woman-owned gallery showcase a woman-led exhibition of women-only photographers.

Lori Andrews, one of the artists exhibiting at the show, states: “Even now, it’s rare to see shows that are put on by women, highlighting women and, celebrating women. I didn’t even hesitate when Heather contacted me.”

What is striking about the show is the diversity of visions presented by the photographers. From unique pop-culture inspired portraits, revisited family pictures or highly stylized and composed images, The Female Lens doesn’t present a one-size-fits-all vision. That was part of the draw for Saitz, who insists, “Women tend to be better at building community, and that was a big factor for this show: highlighting the different visions, different inspiration of all these women.”

The Female Lens opens on Saturday, Feb. 2 and showcases the work of nine photographers, with a public reception held on Friday, Feb. 8 from 5-8 p.m.  Don’t miss the panel discussion featuring all the photographers on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 2-4 p.m.

(Photo: Diana Thorneycroft, Herd-girl (gardener and memory keeper), digital photograph, 22 x 30 in courtesy Christine Klassen Gallery.)

Gaëlle Eizlini started her adult life with a degree in Fine Arts and got sidetracked with a career in communications and engagement. She’s an aspiring Renaissance Woman and rocks her (naturally) curly hair.