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‘We Shall See’ by Ian Willms | Featured Show – CONTACT Photo Festival 2016

As part of the featured exhibitions of Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2016, the Gladstone Hotel is pleased to present We Shall See; a photo series by Ian Willms.

On November 10th, 2014 my father had a catastrophic accident while on a motorcycle tour of South Africa. I went to find him, paralyzed and comatose in a hospital. I’d visit him three times a day. I knew the names of the hospital staff, the menu items offered by the cafeteria, even the access code for the security doors to the ICU ward. We hadn’t been close for much of my life, but this accident brought us together. Weeks later, he awoke and regained his basic senses—it appeared that a new future could emerge.

— Ian Willms

We Shall See is the series of photographs that Ian Willms initiated while visiting his father in the hospital. The images began as Instagram posts documenting the details of their daily routine, created in an effort to visually communicate and cope with the emotional struggle in facing his father’s traumatic injuries. The series quickly grew to comprise more than 200 photographs.

Willms’ father suddenly died in May, 2015. “His unexpected loss meant a violent transition within me; from an optimistic hardship to an undefined and unexplored emotional void,” he explains. “Recovery from loss is a long process. Only time heals these emotional wounds. So, we shall see.”

Ian Willms is a member of Boreal Collective and has been supported by Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council. His work resides between photojournalism and contemporary photography. The indelible marks of passing time and the conflict of inevitable compromise are common threads that run throughout Willms’ longterm photo essays.

Join us on May 5th (7-10pm) in the 2nd Floor Gallery for the opening of We Shall See


Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival is an annual event in May with well over 1500 Canadian and international artists and photographers exhibiting at more than 175 venues throughout the Greater Toronto Area. Founded as a not-for-profit organization in 1997 and now a charitable organization, the Festival is devoted to celebrating, and fostering the art and profession of photography, through a diverse range of programmes.

As a leading proponent of photography, the Festival increases exposure and recognition for local, Canadian and international artists and is committed to advancing knowledge, creativity and innovation in photography. It stimulates excitement and discussion among a diverse audience that has grown to over 1.8 million. CONTACT is the largest photography event in the world, and a premiere cultural event in Canada.