Birthe Piontek is a visual artist living in Vancouver BC, Canada.



Born and raised in Germany, Birthe moved to Canada in 2005 after receiving her MFA from the University of Essen in Communication Design and Photography.

Birthe’s art practice explores the relationship between memory and identity, with a special interest in the topic of female identity and its representation in our society. Her main focus is photography but she also utilizes other art forms like installation, sculpture and collage to investigate to what degree our complex identities can be visualized.

Her work has been exhibited internationally, in both solo and group shows, and is featured in many private and public collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Museum of Applied Arts in Gera, Germany.

Birthe's project The Idea of North won the Critical Mass Book Award 2009, and was published as a monograph in 2011. Her most recent work, Abendlied, received the Edward Burtynsky Grant in 2018 and was published in April 2019.

Her photographs have appeared in a number of international publications like The New York Times Magazine, Le Monde, Wired and The New Yorker among others.

Birthe is an Assistant Professor of Photography in the Audain Faculty of Art at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver and a member of the Piece of Cake Project.

Solo shows

Abendlied, CONTACT Festival Toronto, Canada, 2019
, City Hall Station, Vancouver, Canada, 2019
I want to be with those who know secret things
, Burrard Arts Foundation, Vancouver, Canada, 2019
Abendlied, Guernsey Photography Festival, Guernsey, UK, 2018
(two person), Gallery Jones, Vancouver, Canada, 2018
Catch a falling knife, Film Forum, Seattle, USA, 2017
Miss Solitude, Access Gallery, Vancouver, Canada, 2017
Lying Still, Perspectives Gallery, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, USA, 2016
Mimesis, Flash Forward FestivalBoston, USA, 2016
Her Story, Violet Strays, Seattle, USA, 2016
Lying Still, Gallery 295, Vancouver, Canada, 2015
The Idea of North, VU, Quebec City, Canada, 2012
The Idea of North, Gallery Kominek, Berlin, Germany, 2011
The Idea of North, ODD Gallery, Dawson City, Canada, 2010
Sub Rosa, Gallery Kominek, Berlin, Germany, 2008

Group shows

Dwelling: People and Place, Gordon Smith Gallery, North Vancouver, Canada, 2019
Koffler Gallery, Toronto, Canada, 2019
Sanctum, Big Medium, Austin, USA, 2019
Zuhause – Vonovia Award für Fotografie,
Kunstmuseum Bochum, Germany, 2019
Photographing the Female,
Beacon Gallery, Boston, USA, 2019
SAMple Gallery, University of North Carolina, USA, 2019
In Plain Sight,
Parker Street Studios, Vancouver, Canada, 2018
Portraits: Hellerau Photography Award, Dresden, Germany 2018
Trash cans for hearts and people have no soul, Fotofestiwal Lodz, Poland, 2017
Photographing the Female, Focus Festival, Mumbai, India, 2017
Collective Thinking, For Freedoms, Aperture Foundation, New York, USA, 2017
Just Visiting, Soil Gallery, Seattle, USA, 2016
Out of Sight, King Street Station, Seattle, USA, 2016
L'Autre visage, Portrait & experimentations photographique, Pole Image, Rouen, France, 2016
Dear Jenny, We Are All Find, April + Vignettes Gallery, Seattle, USA, 2016
Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award Arles, Arles, France, 2015
The Liberia Pure Honey Project, Make Gallery, Vancouver, Canada, 2015
Tomorrow has passed, One Eyed Jacks Gallery, Brighton, UK, 2015
Hyeres, Fashion and Photography Festival, Villa Noailles, Hyeres, France, 2014
Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, USA, 2012
Variations Fantomes, OFF Interarts, Montreal, Canada, 2011
Les Battements, Maison de la culture Frontenac, Montreal, Canada, 2010
Graphic Intersections & The Portrait As Allegory, Umbrage Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, USA, 2010
Exposed: Critical Mass Top 50, Photo Center NW, Seattle, USA, 2010
Aenne Biermann Prize 2009, Museum for Applied Arts, Gera, Germany, 2010
Arte Laguna Art Prize, Finalists, Venice Arsenale, Venice, Italy, 2010
The AIPAD Photography Show, Park Avenue Armory, New York City, USA, 2009
Kodak Celebrating The New Faces of Photography: The 2008 PDN 30,
Helen Mills Theater, New York, USA, 2008
Portrait II, Galeria Leme, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2008
, Ten photograpers show their vision of home, 
Maison de la culture Frontenac, Montreal, Canada, 2008
Ne Plus Ultra The Hey, Hot Shot Annual, Jen Bekman Gallery, New York City, USA, 2008
Hey Hot Shot Fall 07, Jen Bekman Gallery, New York City, USA, 2007
Emerging Photographers 07, Street Art Project, Magenta Foundation, Toronto, Canada, 2007
Emerging Photographers 06, Magenta Foundation, 
Lennox Contemporary Gallery, Toronto, Canada, 2006
Kodak Young Talent Awards 2004-2006, Visual Gallery at Photokina, Cologne, Germany, 2006
Warm Up, Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany, 2004


Project Grant, British Columbia Arts Council, Canada, 2019
Prix Pictet,
nominated, UK, 2019
Vonovia Photo Award,
shortlisted, Germany, 2018
Artist Residency,
Burrard Arts Foundation, Vancouver, Canada, 2018
Edward Burtynsky Grant,
Scotiabank CONTACT Festival, Toronto, Canada, 2018
Guernsey Photography Award, shortlisted, Guernsey, UK, 2018
Project Grant, British Columbia Arts Council, Canada, 2017
Edward Burtynsky Grant, shortlisted, Canada, 2016
Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award Arles, nominated, France, 2015
AIMIA AGO Photography Award, Long List, Canada, 2014
Hyeres, Fashion and Photography Festival, France, 2014
Project Grant, British Columbia Arts Council, Canada, 2012
Travel Grant, Canada Council for the Arts, Canada, 2010
Arte Laguna Art Prize, Finalist, Venice, Italy, 2010
Critical Mass Top 50 and Book Award, Photolucida, USA, 2009
Aenne Bierman Prize, 3rd Place, Germany, 2009
International Photography Awards, Honorable Mention, USA, 2009
Otto Steinert Prize, Honorable Mention, DGPH, Germany, 2009
Santa Fe Prize for Photography, Finalist, USA, 2009
Artist Residency, KIAC, Dawson City, Canada, 2008
Descubrimientos PHE, Photo Espana, Spain, 2008
Photo District News PDN'S 30, USA, 2008
KLM Paul Huf Award, Nomination, Foam Museum Amsterdam, 2008
Santa Fe Project Competition, Juror's Choice Award, Center, USA, 2007
Otto Steinert Prize, Honorable Mention, DGPh, 2007
Kodak Young Talent Award, Germany, 2005
PhotoVision, Germany, 2003
RAG Photojournalism Award, Germany, 2000

Publications and press

Photonews, May Issue, Germany, 2019
PDN Magazine,
March Issue, USA, 2019
Prefix Photo Magazine
, Issue 38, Fall / Winter, Canada, 2018
British Journal of Photography,
July Issue, UK, 2018
Portraits - Hellerau Photography Award, exhibition catalog, Dresden, Germany, 2018
dienacht, Magazine for Photography, Design and Sculpture, issue 20, Germany, 2017
Lux, Archeology of Photography Foundation, Poland, 2017
Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze, Laurence King Publishing, UK, 2017
Justified Magazine, Issue 4, UK, 2016
Blow Photo, Issue 14, Ireland, 2016
Brett Magazine,
Issue 1, South Korea, 2016
Better Photography, March Issue, India, 2015
Hyeres Fashion and Photography Festival, exhibition catalog, Hyeres, France2014
Photo +, May Issue, South Korea2014
Ciel Variable, Issue 94, Canada2013
Blink Magazine, Issue 14, South Korea, 2012
PDN Magazine, Fine Art Photography Issue, USA, 2012
Blackflash, Fall 2010, Issue 28.1, Canada, 2010
Aenne Bierman Prize 2009, Museum for Applied Arts, exhibition catalog, Gera, Germany, 2010
Arte Laguna Art Prize 2009, Arte Laguna Foundation, exhibition catalog, Venice, Italy, 2010
Galleries West, Issue Summer 2009, Canada, 2009
The Collectors Guide to Emerging Art Photography, Humble Arts Foundation, USA, 2009
Sub Rosa, Gallery Kominek, Berlin, Germany, 2008
PDN 30, Photo District News, USA, 2008
Visions Magazine, China, 2008
Spot Magazine, Houston Center of Photography, USA, 2008
Emerging Photographers 2007, The Magenta Foundation, Toronto, Canada, 2007
Emerging Photographers 2006, The Magenta Foundation, Toronto, Canada, 2006
Kodak Young Talent Awards 2004-2006, Kodak GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany, 2006
Public Folder, Issue 1, John Harten, Cologne, Germany, 2006
Zuhause, Kodak, Stuttgart, Germany, 2003