Jody Shapiro at 64 Steps Contemporary Art (1164 Queen West) to November 7. 416-535-7837. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Have you heard about the guy who took a photo a day for the last 365 days?
No, not that guy, the other guy.
No, not that one either - I'm talking about Jody Shapiro .
He covered three walls of 64 Steps Contemporary Art Gallery with 8-by-10 digital prints.
He took each picture within half an hour of waking up.
I know it's been done before (Jeff Harris and Dean Baldwin come to mind, and that's just this year in Toronto) and that it's actually a bit gimmicky, but sometimes gimmicks work. While Shapiro might not turn into the guy who takes a picture every day for a year, he can still be one of the guys to do it well.
To Shapiro's advantage, waking up in 45 different beds over the year makes for some inspiring mornings. But it does take a photographer, or in this case, a filmmaker, to notice the beautiful details in bland places like a Days Inn day after day.
Instead of taking clichéd travelogue-type photos, Shapiro embraces the humdrum in life on the road, showcasing the beauty in towels draped in front of tiles, bathroom drains and rotting pears.
Separated from their context, most of these photos couldn't stand alone.
Only the odd truly solid photo, like the building silhouettes against a crisp early-morning blue sky on March 12, would be considered great in itself. But en masse, surrounding their viewers, the images become overwhelming, the fatigue of travel contagious.
Faced with the stress and strain of travel mornings, you ask, "How did he do this?" referring to the travel more than to the work.