Mirvish Village People

On December 31, 2016 Honest Ed's Department Store in Toronto will close after more than 60 years in business. Sold to developers, the fate of the iconic landmark discount department store and surrounding community known as Mirvish Village is uncertain. Ed Mirvish created Mirvish Village as an artist-friendly neighborhood with encouragement from his wife Anne, who herself was an artist. Her frequent visits to the Village in New York motivated Ed to create a similar artistic community for her in Toronto. Full of galleries, artist studios, restaurants and shops, Mirvish Village is rich with culture, the arts and independent souls. Undoubtedly, the Village will change with the new development.

I decided to photograph the iconic landmark and the surrounding Village before they disappeared. Speaking with a friend who recently opened a gallery in Mirvish Village it occurred to me to also focus on the independent souls that contribute to the character and uniqueness of the Village. With her help, I was introduced to several Mirvish Village People who agreed to have their portraits taken inside their respective shops, galleries and studios. Displaying the first five portraits in my friend’s gallery helped to attract more individuals by giving them a better understanding of the intent of the project. By using an 8x10 view camera I was able to engage the subject in the portrait making process. The use of a wide-angle lens enabled me to capture the individuals within their working and artistic environments, thus providing the viewer with some sense of the Mirvish Village interiors.

While the future of Honest Ed’s and Mirvish Village remains unclear, the Village continues with business as usual, recognizing however that it will soon end. My hope is that with these images one of Toronto’s treasured neighborhoods that began as a grand romantic gesture will secure a place in the city’s collective, historic consciousness.

Francis, Southern Accent Restaurant, 06/14

Media:  Hand-Coated Platinum/Palladium Prints available either as 8x10 inch or 16x20 inch prints or Carbon Pigment Prints available as 20x24 inch prints or larger.

Edition: Each size/media type is limited to an edition of 10 + 3 artist proofs