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There’s a new way to support Toronto’s hospitality industry beyond ordering takeout and bottled cocktails.
Through his Lockdown 2.0 photo essay series, restaurateur and documentarian Jody Shapiro is raising funds for hospitality workers, one image at a time.
Shapiro, who co-owns Antler restaurant with chef Michael Hunter, has a deep, personal connection to the pandemic’s effects on the hospitality industry. When Antler closed in March 2020, Shapiro was forced to let go of 22 people. Along with his business partners, and like so many others in the industry, he also had to reimagine how to conduct business without being able to allow diners indoors.
“[W]hen this second lockdown was announced in November, I felt compelled to tell the story of what people were going through,” Shapiro said in a recent interview on the FFOTO blog.
The result, is a series of 44 black and white photos that tell “the behind-the-scenes story of restaurant chefs, owners, and staff, as they try to safely navigate their businesses—their livelihoods—through the operational restrictions that they face,” explains Shapiro of his work.
The images of beloved Toronto hangouts, including the Skyline Restaurant and Antler, and local chefs, like Scott Vivian of Beast, and Ian Robinson of Skippa, provide a snapshot of life in reinvented restaurant spaces.
“I wanted to tell a story about what was going on,” says Shapiro. “So I decided to pick up my camera and document what was happening in our restaurant, and in restaurants across the city.”
Launched on Feb. 25, the images are currently on display at Toronto’s Stephen Bulger Gallery, and may be purchased online at the gallery’s art photography destination, FFOTO. Profits from the series will be donated to Save Hospitality and the Full Plate, two hospitality non-profit organizations.
“This is an unprecedented time in the hospitality industry,” says Shapiro on the FFOTO website. “In the near future we will look back at this lockdown as a time of change; for some it will be time of loss, for others, a time of triumph.”