Jody Shapiro, co-owner of lumberjack-chic hipster hotspot Antler, has partnered with the Stephen Bulger Gallery to create Lockdown 2.0, a photo essay series aimed at raising funds for the hard-hit restaurant industry.
Featuring 14 Toronto restaurants, including Ascari, Blackbird Bakery, Canoe, the Federal, Skippa, the Skyline and Uncle Mikey’s, Shapiro’s photos depict some of these chefs, owners, managers and servers trying to maintain their daily routines against a backdrop of empty booths and tables.
Photographs in the series are now available for purchase through global photography sales platform FFOTO. All profits from the print sales will go towards hospitality non-profit organizations the Full Plate and Save Hospitality.
In an interview on the FFOTO site, Shapiro said he hopes that his photos will serve as a “point of reflection.” Shapiro aimed not only to document this challenging moment for Toronto restaurants but also to highlight the dedication and commitment of workers in the dining industry.
According to Save Hospitality, over 1 million hospitality jobs have been lost since Canada’s lockdowns began, making hospitality workers the largest sector of Canadians currently experiencing unemployment. While Toronto restaurants have pivoted to takeout, delivery and grocery, few have found this business model to be sustainable, and even those that are managing to stay afloat have had to drastically reduce staff.
In a press release, Shapiro commented that “those in the hospitality industry are trying to safely navigate their businesses – their livelihoods – amidst the current operational restrictions. 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.”
Both the Full Plate and Save Hospitality were created in response to the pandemic restrictions on restaurants and aim to provide support and resources to the workers most directly affected. Lockdown 2.0 can be viewed and purchased online from FFTO.