Jody Shapiro is the co-owner of Dundas West’s Antler Restaurant, and also a photographer. Watching his staff, as well as other neighbouring establishments, pivot, adapt, and come together, in order to stay afloat, inspired him to document Toronto restaurant life: the chefs, the owners, and all the workers who play a vital role in operations. Lockdown 2.0 gives an intimate look into an industry fighting for survival amidst the backdrop of COVID-19 restrictions.
“Whether you’re a chef, restaurant owner, or staff, those in the hospitality industry are trying to safely navigate their businesses – their livelihoods – amidst the current operational restrictions,” said Jody. “I want to use this photography series to demonstrate how hard everyone is working to survive and remind our community that we’re all in this together.”
Stephen Bulger, owner of Stephen Bulger Gallery, located a couple blocks east of Antler, noticed the work that Shapiro was doing, and proposed a partnership. The prints are now being sold on FFOTO, a global photography sales platform co-owned by Bulger and Craig D’Arville’s. All profits from sales will go directly to non-profits supporting the Canadian hospitality industry.
“Jody’s photographs serve as an archive of one of the most unprecedented times in history,” said Stephen. “Craig and I are delighted that, through our platform FFOTO, these encapsulated moments in time will be made more broadly available to those looking to support the community and own a piece of this history.”
The striking black and white photos speak volumes, capturing the spirit of this moment in time—and the grit and endurance required to keep going. Toronto restaurants snapped include Ascari, Beast, Blackbird Bakery, Canoe, The Federal, Hawk + Chick, Labora, Lev Bakery, Rasa, Sakai Bar, Skippa, Sushi Kaji, The Skyline, and Uncle Mikey’s.
The 40 pieces are available now at https://FFOTO.com/Lockdown2. The pieces come in 6 x 9-inch archival digital prints and 9 x 13.5 inch framed silver gelatin prints. Price points are purposefully affordable, with all profits going towards two non-profit hospitality organizations: The Full Plate, who are providing essential services to promote overall well-being within the industry, and SaveHospitalityCA, a coalition of restaurateurs and operators lobbying all levels of government for the support that the industry requires to weather the crisis created by COVID-19. Each restaurant will also be provided with their own prints to display in their storefronts, serving as a point of connection for the initiative.