Cristian Ordóñez awarded the 2021 Burtynsky Grant


Cristian Ordóñez, 99A, 2021, from the book Frequency. Courtesy of the artist.

CONTACT is pleased to announce Toronto-based, Chilean-born artist Cristian Ordóñez as the 2021 Burtynsky Grant winner for his book project Frequency.

In 2016, photographer Edward Burtynsky and CONTACT established the Burtynsky Grant to foster the creation of photobooks by Canadians. The $5,000 annual grant supports artists and photographers who are at the advanced stages of developing a cohesive, rigorous body of work for publication.

The jury, comprising Edward Burtynsky, Romke Hoogwaerts, Zun Lee, and Michèle Pearson Clarke, had the pleasure of reviewing a wide range of compelling, competitive photobook proposals from across Canada.

“Produced while on daily walks throughout Toronto in 2020 and 2021, Cristian Ordóñez’s project Frequency is a timely meditation on the tension between humans, nature, and the urban landscape. Ordóñez’s large- and medium-format photographs are masterfully composed, presenting uncanny vestiges of both natural and built environments in a wide tonal range of black and white. The energy, thoughtfulness, and the pacing of this body of work resonates with the pace of what life has been like in recent years. Ordóñez has been quietly and consistently creating self-published book projects for many years, and the jury is excited that this grant will assist him in the opportunity to work with a publisher.”

The jury would like to acknowledge the following Honourable Mentions:

Sara Knelman, Lady Readers
Jon Laytner, Normal and Boring
Rehab Nazzal, Driving in Palestine
Kyler Zeleny, Bury Me in the Back Forty

Since its inception, The Burtynsky Grant has supported a range of exceptional photobooks by Canadian and international independent publishers.

2020 – Pamila Matharu, Index: Some of All Parts. Forthcoming.
2019 – Teresa Eng, China Dream. Published 2019 by Skinnerboox.
2018 – Birthe Piontek, Abendlied. Published 2019 by Gnomic Book.
2017 – The Broadbent Sisters, A Telepathic Book. Self-published in 2018.
2016 – Aaron Friend Lettner, Doorways. Published 2017 by Anchorless Press.


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CONTACT is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to celebrating and fostering the art and profession of photography with an annual Festival in May and year-round programming in the CONTACT Gallery. CONTACT embraces an inclusive and accessible approach to the medium, and cultivates collaborations with and among artists, curators, institutions, and organizations.

CONTACT is generously supported by Scotia Wealth Management, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, La Fondation Emmanuelle Gattuso, Toronto Image Works, The Gilder, Transcontinental PLM, 3M Canada, Waddington’s Auctioneers and Appraisers, Four By Eight Signs, Beyond Digital Imaging, Steam Whistle Brewing, BIG Digital, The Globe and Mail, NOW Magazine, CBC Toronto, Hyperallergic, and the Metropolitan.

CONTACT gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Reconnect Ontario, Ontario Arts Council, The Government of Ontario, Partners in Art, Canada Council for the Arts, the Howard Webster Foundation, Mondriaan Foundation, Pro Helvetia, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Toronto Arts Council, and all of our funders, donors, and programming partners.