Co-presented by MOCCA and the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
Photographic archives invite us to piece together historical narrative, making sense of a time and place through the visual documents left behind. This exhibition provides a rare glimpse into the Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC), an organization whose collection and exhibition practices challenge us to reassess the very foundations of how we visualize the past and present. For the AMC, the “task is to engage with and constantly reassess the legacy of the incoming photographic stream—to capture something of its metamorphosis.”
The AMC’s founding interest in amateur and professional photography from the First and Second World Wars has expanded to include images of all kinds covering a wide range of subjects. Based in the UK and Canada, the archive now includes more than four million photographs. Through unexpected juxtapositions and associations across time periods, geographies, and techniques, Collected Shadows focuses on natural and supernatural themes: earth, fire, air, and water, complemented by divinity, astrology, and flight. The AMC endeavors to “store, explore, and represent the lost shadows that lens-based technologies have scattered to the wind,” inciting the sense of wonder we bring to our engagements with photography.