The Shift takes on hotel life

Ever wonder what goes on behind the Fairmont hotel scenes? Photojournalists let us in on the going-ons with an exhibition at Contact.


If you’re in Toronto, and you haven’t noticed the sporadic show of photographs on the cities buildings and windows, then you really need to look up from your phone.

The Scotiabank Contact photography festival is in full force now, setting up exhibition camp in galleries, museums and hotels for the month of May. And while a lot of the work is led by photographers, there are some projects commissioned by brands attempting to tap into the art world.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is one of them. The hotelier recently unveiled a portfolio of commissioned photographs featuring its staff in partnership with creative visual storytelling agency Namara. Seven of its best photojournalists shadowed Fairmont colleagues and captured what goes on behind the scenes. The exhibition is currently being shown at the Murray building on Spadina, running til May 20, and it’s an artistic side of hotel biz you probably never thought was possible.


Read below for the project statement:

The Shift celebrates photography’s capacity to move people and connect them through visual narrative. The strength of professional photographers, specifically documentary-makers, is that they do not merely capture a moment, an aesthetic, or a likeness. They build stories that affect viewers and resonate with them. Images transcend culture. The greatest photographers impart their stories with dignity, courage, and beauty. They are powerful influencers who can tap into their audiences’ empathy and, at the best of times, provoke feelings of sincere connection between subject and viewer.

This exhibition is a glimpse into the lives of people working in the tourism and hospitality industry around the world—including Canada, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, England, China, and Kenya—photographed by the seven members of the NAMARA creative agency. The selected images are shown together to highlight not only the unique characteristics of the subjects, but also the particular approach of each photographer in building visual narrative.


Brand: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Agency: NAMARA represents
Photojournalists: Dominic Nahr, Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Kitra Cahana, Brett Gundlock, Ed Ou, Ian Willms and Kiana Hayeri




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