11th annual Spark Photo Festival features 26 exhibits across Peterborough area

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11th annual SPARK Photo Festival underway in Peterborough area
Photo Courtesy: SPARK Photo Festival On this edition of Out & About Caley Bedore learns more about the annual SPARK Photo Festival while touring some of this year's exhibits. – Apr 5, 2024

The 11th annual Spark Photo Festival is underway in Peterborough City and County, Northumberland County and City of Kawartha Lakes.

“We have 26 new exhibits that feature more than 100 photographers,” said festival director Jennifer MacKenzie.

She said the event is to celebrate and showcase the work of new and established photographers in unexpected ways and make viewing and interacting with the art more accessible.

“We coat the walls of the county with photography exhibits that pop up in cafes, restaurants, libraries, community centres, so we are sort of bringing photography to the community.”

She added you can find brochures at each stop or download the Toureka! app to plan your route.

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At Cork & Bean in downtown Peterborough, the exhibit For the Love of Nature is on display. The exhibit is by The Serenity Seekers, a group of four female photographers who met through social media and bonded over nature photography.

“We all really just thrive in nature,” said photographer Linda Kassil, a member of The Serenity Seekers. “Nowhere am I calmer and more at peace than when I am outside, with my camera. I totally lose myself.

“We are always seeking peace; we are looking for peace and seeking serenity, so Serenity Seekers just seemed to fit.”

Fellow group member Rachelle Richard Mack added it is a great way to connect with wildlife.

“So much of our life is spent on screens and it gets me outside, appreciating wildlife and learning about wildlife.”

MacKenzie said there are a variety of ways to pick which exhibits you’d like to see.

“We have brochures that you can pick up at each stop but we also have the Toureka! app.”

Across town at the YMCA Balsillie Family Branch you’ll find both Texture, the Spark Themed Juried Exhibition and Light the Spark: Emerging Artist Exhibit.

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Lex Belliveau is one of this year’s emerging artist photographers.

“I learned a lot about putting a photography exhibit together, the printing process, naming process and bringing a theme together,” she said.

“I feel like photography is often something you do by yourself, so it’s been great to be part of a community, especially in Peterborough which has a strong arts community.”

That feeling is echoed by members of The Serenity Seekers, who say the friendships they’ve formed have been a valuable part of the experience.

“So much of this is just the inspiration of the other women who are part of it,” said photographer Cindy Bartoli.

“It pushes you to do better and do differently and look at things different and that’s what photography is all about: it’s how you see things.”

The festival runs until the end of April, for a full list of exhibits and events you can visit the Spark Photo Festival website.

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