Full of galleries, artist studios, restaurants and shops, Mirvish Village is rich with culture, the arts and independent souls. However, on December 31, 2016, the Village and Honest Ed's Department Store in Toronto closed after more than 60 years in business.
When I began this project in 2014 I initially decided to focus on the urban landscape and photograph the exterior of Honest Ed’s and the surrounding Village before the renewal. I soon realized that the interior spaces would be more unique and would certainly rarely be seen by most pedestrians. I also wanted to capture the people who contribute much to the character and uniqueness of the Village. Making the portraits within each artist’s studio or entrepreneur’s retail space allowed me to tie the portraits to the interiors in a way that captured a seldom seen moment in time.
My approach to making the portraits was straight forward with the use of available light to keep it as simple as possible. By using an 8x10 view camera I was able to engage the subject in the portrait making process. The large camera added a formality to the portrait session and the use of a wide-angle lens enabled me to capture the individuals within their working and artistic environments.
My hope is that with this body of work the people that contributed so to one of Toronto’s treasured neighbourhoods will secure a place in the city’s collective, historic consciousness.