1 - Tomasz Gudzowaty1 - Tomasz Gudzowaty
Where/When: Stephen Bulger Gallery (1026 Queen West) to June 17. 416-504-0575.
What: Once they deteriorate beyond repair, the massive steel-hulled freighters that serve the global economy are scrapped, entirely by hand at the rate of 70 per year, on 8 miles of beach by the people of Chittagong, Bangladesh. Ship Wreckers documents their existence.
Why: Gudzowaty shows the incomprehensible. Appearing as ants beside the ships they dismantle, the people in these photos are part of the 100,000-workforce who labour year-round under the most dangerous conditions imaginable. People ought to know.
Buzz: Several photographers have managed to gain access to the yards over the past decade, including our own Ed Burtynsky, but Gudzowaty's gives us a breathtaking look at the operation's human side.
2 - Marco Bohr 2 - Marco Bohr
Where/When: The Japan Foundation (131 Bloor West, suite 213), to June 23. , 416-966-1600.
What: Apprentice goldsmiths, high-school sweethearts, professional divers, park cleaners and other functionaries of everyday Japanese life photographed wearing what they wear to work or school.
Why: Growing up in post-war Germany, Marco Bohr has always felt uneasy about uniforms and the societal dynamics they reflect, especially in the wake of the Third Reich. His show Uniforms explores the personae we adopt when we drop our "selves" and get into our everyday working roles as functioning members of society.
Buzz: Bohr has acquired an international reputation for deceptively glib photos with a narrative edge. In the past, he has focused on capturing individuals relaxing unconsciously into their private selves. This project, shot in work-driven and protocol-conscious contemporary Japan, does the opposite: it finds individuals as they surrender, sometimes contentedly, sometimes reluctantly, to their roles in the public domain.
3 - Anastasia Khoroshilova; American Icons3 - Anastasia Khoroshilova; American Icons
Where/When: Corkin Shopland Gallery (55 Mill, building 61), to June 25. 416-979-1980.
What: Contemporary portraits of young Russian athletes who practise a rare form of wrestling called Sambo; classic photos from Corkin Shopland's print archive.
Why: Portraits by Khoroshilova, an up-and-coming Moscow-born photographer, focus on marginalized and isolated individuals. Seven portraits of young athletes show a knack for insightful and meticulous portraiture that captures the promise and vulnerability of her highly disciplined subjects. The American Icons show is a rare exhibit of original 20th-century prints from Corkin Shopland's archives, including work by Paul Strand , Alfred Stieglitz , George Platt Lynes , Walker Evans , Lisette Model , Larry Clark , Dorothea Lange and André Kertész . Buzz: Khoroshilova takes the pulse of contemporary Russia the way only a skilled photographer can, while the American Icons show is a rare opportunity to see the language of contemporary photography being constructed one shot at a time.
4 - Joseph Paget and Jaime Maddalena4 - Joseph Paget and Jaime Maddalena
Where/When: Curbside Cycle (412 Bloor West), tonight (Thursday, May 18, reception 7 to 9 pm) to June 8. 416-920-4933.
What: Love My Bike is a lighthearted look at people with bikes and their lifestyles.
Why: Beyond the fact that bicycling is by far the most convenient, economical and environmentally friendly form of land transportation ever invented, if you've ever loved a bike, you know that the bike loves you back. This show documents the affair.
Buzz: You might recognize a few of the bikes from your local bike shop.