Harry Enchin’s TorontoTransformed
Whether we choose to take part in it or not, we are a civilization that is in constant remembrance of our past. Toronto photographer, Harry Enchin reminds us of this affinity for old versus new in his provoking series, ‘Toronto Transformed.’
The seamless way in which his modern-day photographs are stitched to vintage images from the City of Toronto Archives, extend the invitation to consider a more harmonious existence. The present relies on the past as a yin relies on it’s yang.
By breathing life and his vision, literally, into these once lost photographs, Enchin not only renders our relationship with our city’s past but sparks a worthy conversation we all should be having about it.
Photographs have an affinity for that which is real. They are unrestrained singular moments in history, authentic visual references, and records of change that have been embraced by the photographer and held in time. Harry Enchin’s photographs show transformation and likeness in tandem through the merging of imagery, both past and present. Drawing on photographs from the City of Toronto Archives, Enchin references historical images of industrialized Toronto and seamlessly integrates them with his own visual record of the city in its current post-modern state. The end result is a series of insightful, informative, and introspective images that possess an aura of personal familiarity.
TorontoTransformed is a collection of photo-based collages that digitally combine City of Toronto archive source material from the first half of the twentieth century with modern day images of the identical locations. Blending infrastructure and persona, as if a staged performance, the collages interweave elements of the old and new while offering social commentary. When constructing a narrative for a collage, an iconic image is sometimes used – a building, landmark or subject such as a newsstand – something to which people can relate.
With a reference “old” image in hand, I revisit the exact spot where the original image was taken. I find the same perspective, lining up the “old” and “new” and then capture a “new” image. A high resolution scan of the source material is digitally combined with the new image to create the photographic collage.
The work has been recognized by Awards at the Artist Project and the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition and exhibited at numerous art shows, such as the Toronto International Art Fair. The work is in private and corporate collections. I would like to acknowledge the funding support of the City of Toronto through Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.