RE-IMAGING THE PAST
My father’s house is a place I have always been captivated by due to the rich history it holds, and the energy you can feel within each room. It is a home, filled with decades of moments by different individuals, bearing different stories. Re-Imaging the Past is a portrait series of my father’s house in Toronto, Canada. My father’s house was built approximately in the late 1890s to early 1900s, and exhibits great history. The house was built for the wealthy, British businessman, banker, and distiller William Gooderham Sr, and it was the first house built on the street. The house has had many different families living in it throughout the decades. After purchasing the house, my father studied its history through archival documents, photographs, paintings, and past families – and refurbished each room of the house similar to its original design from the various decades.
My father made many of the rooms art deco, inspired by the roaring 20s’ and 30s’. Additionally, he restored rooms to their old Victorian and Edwardian styles, ranging from periods of 1890s to early 1900s. I have always been enchanted by history and the past. What kind of people lived in the spaces I am presently in? Moreso, who were they, what were their personalities, desires, and how did they conduct their lives?
My aim is to create a portraiture series that captivates the different figures who I imagine could have lived in my father’s house throughout the decades – and whose spirits are still felt within the walls of the house. I used era-appropriate objects, accessories, clothing, makeup, lighting, and decor to recreate moments in these invented persona's lives. I was inspired by Vermeer and Rembrandt’s magical lighting which created a dramatic chiaroscuro to pertain a certain atmospheric essence upon their subjects. Additionally, when creating imagery portraying the 1930s, many of the technical elements such as lighting, composition and subject matter were drawn from the hollywood-glamour photographer George Hurell who employed intense lighting to create powerful contrast generating deeply emotional ethos of his era.
Each image is titled with the name of the figure and the date of their time. Many of the figures are named after actual past inhabitants of my father's house. My aim with this project is for viewers to immerse themselves in the rich, decadent, timeless eras evoked within the rooms of my father’s house – and meet the figures I believe inhabited these lavish spaces.