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Ian Willms February 13, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Canada.
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Jimmy’s Lunch Diner, Kitchener, Ontario 2010

Ian Willms (b. 1985, Canada) is a founding member of the Boreal Collective and part of the Reportage by Getty Images Emerging Talent roster. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Village Voice, Foto8, Applied Arts Magazine, PDN, Maclean’s and The Walrus. Ian has also worked with the NGOs Greenpeace and Oxfam. In recent years, Ian’s documentary photography has been supported and honored by the Magnum Expression Photography Award, the Magenta Foundation, the Burn Emerging Photographer Fund and the National Magazine Awards and shown in exhibitions at Pikto Gallery, Bau-Xi Photo, O’Born Contemporary and Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography.

About the Photograph:

“Jimmy’s Lunch is a diner that was established in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in 1948 by Jimmy George. In 1955, Jimmy died of a brain tumor and his son Jerry took the business over. Jerry has been there everyday since then. For a long time, Jimmy’s was the only 24-hour diner in the city, so they regularly saw a fairly diverse array of clientele. It wasn’t uncommon to see judges sitting at the same bar as homeless people. Rumor has it that even Chuck Berry ate there once. Today, the only patrons consist of the regulars who have been coming there since they were kids. Like the diner, none of them are getting any younger. Every year there are a few more empty bar stools as people pass on.

“I wanted to document Jimmy’s Lunch because I see it as a place that represents the blue-collar culture that used to make Kitchener what it was. Everything today is so sterile and devoid of character. I like the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality that Jerry takes with his diner. It’s a simple place, where nothing has really changed over the years. Even the food is still made the same as it always has been. It feels a lot like a time warp, but not in a cheesy, contrived nostalgia way. Jimmy’s embodies decades past in a very raw and unvarnished way. Ironically, it’s even difficult to get cell phone reception when you’re there. The photo is of Jerry at the grill and one of his long-time regulars sitting at the bar. The man on the left passed away a few months after this photo was taken.

Birthe Piontek January 23, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Canada.
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Dawson City, Yukon, Canada 2010

Birthe Piontek
(b.1976, Germany) moved to Canada in 2005 after receiving her MFA from the University of Essen in Communication Design and Photography. Her work has been exhibited internationally at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Museum of Applied Arts in Gera, Germany. In 2008, she was named one of PDN’s 30, and has been a finalist for the Santa Fe Prize in Photography. Her project The Idea of North won the Critical Mass Book Award in 2009, and was published as a monograph in 2011. Birthe’s work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Wired and Die Zeit, among others. She is represented by Charles Guice Contemporary in New York City and Kominek Gallery in Berlin.

About the Photograph:

“This image is part of a project called The Idea of North, a series I shot in Dawson City, Yukon. It deals with a recurrent theme in my photographic work: individuation and the struggles of people to belong and yet to be different at the same time. The fast-paced, anonymous life of the urban environment sometimes offers neither the time nor space for individualization, nor the comforting place needed for belonging. So, for some, the sense of freedom and interdependence intrinsic to a remote, Northern community makes it an idealized symbol of the Promised Land. Dawson City is known for its rough exterior, attracts people interested in an alternative way of living, and, as a former gold mining town, holds its fair share of dark secrets. During my stay there, I met Myriam. Originally from Germany, she moved to the Yukon several years ago. She learned how to build her own log cabin and now enjoys living off the grid, which in her case means neither having running water or electricity, but instead having her own garden and owning a couple of sled dogs. The photo was taken outside her cabin on a long summer evening.”

Kiana Hayeri October 24, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Canada.
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Richmond Hill, a suburb of Toronto 2010

Kiana Hayeri (b.1988, Iran) moved to Canada in 2005 to pursue post-secondary education. Soon she discovered the role that photography played as a way to bridge the language barrier. With a fine arts background, Kiana developed her personal style and approach to image-making practice by using the camera to tell a story, often with social comment. Presently her work embraces a distinctive theme that illustrates her cultural background. Kiana has interned with the Hot Docs Festival and Magnum Photo Agency in Toronto. She has worked as an assistant with Magnum photographers, Christopher Anderson and Peter Marlow. Her work has been published in Magenta Flash Forward Vol. 12. She will be attending the Eddie Adams Workshop in October 2011.

About the Photograph:

May God Be With You My Daughter is the story of Iranian teenage girls who are leaving Iran, each for a different and personal reason, but all hoping for a better future. A passage from girlhood into adulthood, with all the other complications that it entails, taking place within a new culture and environment. I aim to tell the story of my own journey through capturing the daily lives of these girls and the challenges they face around ‘the turning point’ of their lives; some before they leave Iran and some upon their arrival in the new country. Soheila, an 18-year-old, coming from a traditional Sunni family, is adopting to a new lifestyle; being oppressed and covered up at home, happy and relieved away from home. Hiding it from her parents, in this photograph, she was meeting up with a few friends to go to an Iranian church for one of those missionary sessions. As she was being introduced to friends’ of friends, and I was waiting for the right moment, she did a long pause, holding back from shaking the boyfriend’s hand. When we got on the bus, she whispered in my ear I didn’t know if I should do it in front of the camera or not.”

Jonathan Taggart May 27, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Canada.
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British Columbia, Canada 2008

Jonathan Taggart (b.1985, Canada) is a Vancouver-based photojournalist and a founding member of the Boreal Collective. He received his BFA in Photography from Ryerson University in Toronto and has since exhibited internationally, and in Canada with the support of grants from the Arts Council of Ontario. He is a Scotia Bank Magnum Workshop Scholarship recipient and a National Magazine Award nominee, and has worked for the likes of Greenpeace Canada and Free The Children. Jonathan continues to document social and environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest, with particular focus on those impacting First Nations communities. His current work on Indigenous Foster Care was recently featured on the New York Times Lens Blog.

About the Photograph:

“In 2008 I was working with a First Nations (one of many names adopted by Canada’s indigenous peoples) group a few hours north of Vancouver. Their communities were spread out along 200-odd kilometers of flood-prone logging road that could be traveled at about 40km/h, tops.  The isolation faced by these reserve communities is tremendous – the hamlets littered with broken vehicles that are cheaper to replace than repair – and they remain incredibly poor despite numerous hydro power and forestry operations in and around their territories. Walker (above) is waiting by his VHF radio for a call from his uncle – there’s no cell phone reception and no power grid, so this is how they are forced to communicate between their communities. It’s a long-term project: there is a treaty being negotiated that will (in theory, anyway) improve living conditions in this valley, and I intend to go back to document how things have changed when self-governance is in place.”

Louie Palu December 10, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Canada.
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Louie Palu graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1991 and moved to New York City where he interned with photographer Mary Ellen Mark. He later returned to Toronto and began working as  a staff photographer for six years at The Globe And Mail. Louie’s work has appeared in numerous publications, festivals and exhibitions internationally, which includes being selected for the photojournalism festival Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan, France four times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), George Eastman House, Fotografia International Festival of Rome, The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, including exhibitions and festivals in Milan, Vancouver, Halifax, Kosovo, His work has also been profiled in Lenswork, PDN and Doubletake and published in Newsweek, Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post and Forbes among others.

About the Photograph:

“The provinces of Quebec and Ontario are home to some of the world’s richest and largest underground mines and smelters. Many of the communities surrounding the mines have given rise to some of the most militant labour unions in North American history. This body of work examines life in Canada’s geologically enormous hard rock mining belt. The photographs are documents of the people, land and work involved in underground mining and smelting. As the son of immigrant laborers, I have always been fascinated by the politics of work and commerce. By examining the social issues surrounding workers and market economies, we gain a clearer understanding of the symbiotic nature of the global economy we all participate in.”

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