"Creative Destruction" explores ideas of modernization, progress, and loss by etching into the surface of photographs from the Toronto archives.
Today, Toronto is going through a time of rapid growth and change - condos are shooting up, more people are moving into the city than ever before, and Toronto's economy and culture are thriving.
At this time of transformation, I became interested in exploring Toronto's past, as a means of framing the changes we are currently observing – in the realms of transportation, architecture, and the nature of work – and shedding light on the connections between past and present.
The images I work with are from 1890-1916, nearly 100 years ago, when Toronto was undergoing rapid modernization - a proliferation of public works and building projects, including some of Toronto's iconic buildings. It established much of Toronto's Victorian architecture, which, other than today’s glass and metal, defines our city.
Beginning with digital prints of images from the archives, I physically strip away portions of the chemical layers of the photograph to create marks that veil, alter, or erase the past.
The process of digitally printing and altering old analogue photographs mirrors the ideas of recalling the past, while simultaneously modifying it - not unlike the nature of memory itself. Stripping the paper is a process of creation and destruction: it reveals untapped chemicals in the paper itself, while simultaneously altering it permanently.
By calling attention to what is redacted or highlighted in these potentially familiar-looking images, which we may otherwise gloss over, my goal is to challenge viewers to look more intentionally, such that they may see the past more deeply and notice connections to our present.