Luminato Festival 2013

Now that the Luminato Festival for 2013 has come to an end and I have somewhat returned to my regular routine, I’ve had some time to edit my images taken during the festival. As one of four festival photographers, it was an adventure every night with changing schedules and surprises along the way. While this post is by no means an exhaustive list of the photos that I’ve taken during this 10-day extravaganza of art and creativity, it does shed some light into the variety of the events the festival hosts. And a variety it was, as events ranged from a series of “in conversation” talks to nightly (free) concerts at the hub, to doll exhibits and outreach programs like the L’Allegro Movement Project to Future Tastes of Toronto, and more.

Each year “the Hub” is decked out in true Luminato fashion. This year, the (world’s largest?) mirror ball was raised almost 60 feet above ground. Spinning elegantly in the evening light, with spotlights shining from all angles, the resulting reflections added to the festive spirit at David Pecaut Square, just next door to Roy Thomson Hall.

Depending on when you went to the hub, you would get a different feeling of the area as the mirror ball may have been raised or lowered, spinning or not, and with spotlights or no lights.

And looking towards the stage at the Hub, we had our nightly free concerts that are always a huge crowd pleaser. One of the reasons why I love these concerts is that it introduces us to artists that we would have otherwise not known about. Take for example, X Alfonso. They started their set with a short video of their roots in Cuba. Then, without any introduction or talk, the musicians make their way on stage and immediately rock their instruments with a BIG bang. It literally blew me away as I was not expecting this at all (that, and well, I was standing right in front of the stage and speaker!). The energy on stage from the artists was very electrifying.

Now this was a fun event! The Future Tastes of Toronto was held during the opening weekend of the Luminato Festival at the Distillery District. With the food lab challenge, pictured here, the two chefs in the kitchen had to battle it out in a 30-minute cook-off based on a secret ingredient the kids had chosen. Finally, after the time limit, the kids decided who the winner was. The judges were great with their expressions and overall were pretty lenient with the marks.

During the same day as the Future Tastes event, I was called upon to do a quick production shoot for Ronnie Burkett and his marionnettes. I didn’t know what to expect because I hadn’t seen the show at the time. The shoot turned out well, and we all had a fun time doing it.

The L’Allegro Movement Project was a very touching event to have been shooting, and I was fortunate enough to capture this moment during a last minute change in schedule. The outreach project brought together students from Nelson Mandela Park PS and the Toronto Dancing with Parkinson’s group with dancers and teachers from the Mark Morris Dance Group‘s Dance for PD® program. With their colourful and bright costumes, the students brought forth their enthusiasm and passion to this program.

Before the show, I asked the kids to give me their best dance move, and this is what they gave me! It was a fun room full of energy that evening.

The Literary Picnic was to be a highlight of the festival but unfortunately the weather did not cooperate, forcing the event to be cancelled midway. It was very unfortunate as only a handful of the 60 authors lined up to talk ever made it to the stage. It was great to see people turn out even in the rain though. During the splash of sun that came out that day, the people did enjoy the poems and stories that were read out loud.

The Courtyard Revue? Oh, I was there too! With bands like Vag Halen and Aurora playing nightly, it was a late night treat for the senses.

And for a more toned down event, the lunch time and evening illumination talks were a big hit as well.

And finally…backtracking to concerts at the Hub. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra once again made their mark on stage at David Pecaut Square as they played a tribute to composers Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi’s 200th birthdays. The evening was conducted by Peter Oundjian and joined by the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir to make one spectacular concert.

After the festival ended, I was asked, “what’s the one favourite photo you took during the festival?” One favourite? Is that even possible? While no single photo immediately popped up in my mind, I did have a few choice photos where I thought I captured that moment well. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I would say the following would be one of my favourites of the festival. Why you ask? To me, it captures what was happening that evening. The lighting from the stage makes the audience members stand out and almost makes you feel like you’re in the crowd with them. What’s behind their heads? Well, it’s all left to your imagination as you get a glimpse of the orchestra and choir in the middle.

And with that, this mini-rundown of the Luminato Festival 2013 ends. Hopefully you’ve gained some insight to what this festival is all about, and that you may be interested in seeing some of the events next year. Until then…

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