In the early 2000s, the Archive of Modern Conflict Toronto acquired the photographs of amateur Canadian photographer Edouard LeBouthillier after his Polaroids were found discarded curbside in The Annex, a residential Toronto neighbourhood. Employing the medium of instant photography, LeBouthillier documented his life in Toronto throughout the 1970s and 1980s. From photo booth self-portraits and urban landscapes, to vignettes of his eclectic apartment, he meticulously annotated all of his images with exact times, dates, names, and locations. LeBouthillier also repeatedly photographed public attractions that were recently constructed at the time, such as the Eaton Centre, the CN Tower, and Nathan Phillips Square. These photographs document not only his personal travels, but also the transition of downtown Toronto from a grimy and underutilized urban centre into a modern metropolis.
LeBouthillier’s story unfolds in this two-part exhibition. A selection of his Polaroids documenting some of the city’s most recognizable landmarks are presented as large-scale images on the vitrine windows within Union Station’s VIA Rail concourse, a major access hub to the city. Positioned within this historic site, they act as a reminder of the city’s changing landscape as it currently goes through yet another major transformation. The second part of this exhibition appears at Art Metropole, which features a selection of LeBouthillier’s original Polaroids depicting his domestic life. These images allow the viewer to delve further into the private life of this charismatic figure, shown posing for the camera, hand embroidering his clothing, or relaxing with family, almost always dressed in plaid. As a whole, Edouard reveals a private photographic collection chronicling the life of an individual and the city.
Presented in partnership with the Archive of Modern Conflict Toronto and Osmington (Union Station) Inc.