Life

Portraits of Canada during Covid-19

Canadian fashion label RVNG Couture making its debut at New York Fashion Week (virtually from Toronto).

A striking look through the lens of photographer George Pimentel as he documented the altered appearance of 2020

photography by GEORGE PIMENTEL // text by HOLLY CRAWFORD

THERE IS NO denying that 2020 has been a year unlike any other. With daily lives altered in so many ways, people adapted, accepted and rose to the occasion to help those around them. The obstacles created by a global pandemic, changed the appearance of our city, our society and even, ourselves. Photographer George Pimentel—typically found at red carpet events and awards shows—began documenting the contrast he observed in his city and his neighbourhood. The series of photographs has evolved into a large-scale project, capturing the moments that defined us in 2020.

“When the lockdown happened, and events were cancelled, I decided to go back to my roots as a street photographer. It started with a photo of me and my Dad. It grew from there. I started collecting photos of front line workers, people socially distancing, the elderly and families coping with Covid,” says Pimentel.

Some of Pimentel’s images will be on view along with select photographs from across the country at an outdoor exhibit entitled Canada Covid Portrait at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.

Above: A virtually empty downtown Toronto street. Below: Watching a movie in style—except with masks—at the 5 Drive-in, Oakville. A typically crowded TTC subway looking virtually deserted. The class of 2020 marked their graduations without the usual pomp and circumstance.
Above: The City of Toronto painted “social circles” in parks to help prevent large groups of people from gathering in open spaces. Below: Getting outside with the addition of distancing and mask-wearing. After 20 years in business Labl Couture closed its doors for the first time in March 2020, and shifted focus to creating affordable masks.
Above: Perhaps the ultimate physical illustration of “staying in your bubble” — yoga classes conducted with each participant inside their own dome. Below: Healthcare workers and their patients added new layers of protection. A flight with Air Canada with new Covid-19 protocols in place.

-All photographs are the property of George Pimentel from the photo essay Canada Covid Portrait Project, 2020. If photo is to be used, permission needs to be granted. Please contact George Pimentel at gpimentel@rogers.com

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