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    THE GUARDIANS was born from my desire to document and pay tribute to these people, these "guardians of urban temples" that we meet everyday witho… Read More
    THE GUARDIANS was born from my desire to document and pay tribute to these people, these "guardians of urban temples" that we meet everyday without really noticing. My approach is based on a principle of hazardous perambulation in every city that I visit. The initial idea is to have no more benchmark and enter spontaneously in places where the visual attraction is strong. I like to see every city as a maze in which I enjoy getting lost and finding these treasures. These places are sometimes magical, overloaded with elements, colours and stories, guarded by these characters who are sometimes touching, funny, quirky, and at times frightening. The photos that I take are often the only memory that this "Guardian" will have of him/herself in their daily environment. This photo can be the only visual record of the existence of this place, the only photographic memory. People pay less and less attention to their environment. They are always in a hurry, they don't take the time to spend time with one another. Unfortunately, these places will one day no longer be around. This is one of the reasons that compelled me to want to document these "guardians". So far, I've visited 9 cities (Montreal, New York, Las Vegas, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Beirut) and photographed nearly 250 Guardians. Each picture is taken during my first encounter with the "Guardian". Once contact is established, a link is created or not. Sometimes I leave with a small gift from the person, an anecdote, or just their portrait . A photographic moment based on a brief exchange with these individuals. I try to make the audience feel the personality of the place and the owner. I'm interested in the relationship between the environment and the attitude of the Guardians, how they position themselves in space. I become the director of their universe. I show them their day to day life through my eye and my camera. ▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲ Read Less
    Published:
THE GUARDIANS 
 
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Winner of a 2013 Infopresse LUX price
Winner of the JCDecaux / My Photo Agency photo competition
Winner: The Other Hundred 2014/2015

 
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Official site:                                        http://the-guardians.info
Facebook page:     http://www.facebook.com/guardiansphoto
Instagram page:            http://instagram.com/guardiansphoto
email:                                               hello@vladimirantaki.com
Phone: Montreal: +1514-963-8523 / Paris: +33 6 63 12 28 85
 
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Vladimir Antaki is a French photographer, based in Montreal, Canada.
Vladimir Antaki est un photographe Français basé à Montréal, Canada.
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The Guardians was featured on:

China Daily (Chinese)
Imgur (500.000 views and counting)
Reddit (featured on the main page)
Cafe Babel (Italian)

Stratégies (French)
VSD (French weekly magazine)
Lonely Planet - Germany



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En Français plus bas

THE GUARDIANS was born from Vladimir Antaki’s desire to document and pay tribute to these people, these "guardians of urban temples" that we meet everyday without really noticing.

His approach is based on a principle of hazardous perambulation in every city that he visits. The initial idea is to have no more benchmark and enter spontaneously in places where the visual attraction is strong. He likes to see every city as a maze in which he enjoys getting lost and finding these treasures.

These places are sometimes magical, overloaded with elements, colours and stories, guarded by these characters who are sometimes touching, funny, quirky, and at times frightening.
The photos that he takes are often the only memory that this Guardian will have of him/herself in their daily environment. This photo can be the only visual record of the existence of this place, the only photographic memory.

People pay less and less attention to their environment. They are always in a hurry, they don't allow themselves to spend time with one another. They are constantly looking for ways to “save time and money”, that’s why they’d rather shop in large malls where all types of businesses are centralized instead of encouraging their local shops. 
Yes malls and supermarkets are convenient and they make you save money because small shops cannot compete with large stores on price and variety of selection, but they are also so sterile, impersonal and boring and where you don’t get to meet these characters.

Unfortunately, these places will one day no longer be around. This is one of the reasons that compelled me to want to document these "Guardians".

So far, Antaki has visited 16 cities (Montreal, New York, Las Vegas, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Beirut, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Bordeaux, Marrakesh, Fes, Miami and Philadelphia) and met more than 300 Guardians.

Each picture is taken during his first encounter with the Guardian and he doesn’t interfere with the space.
Once contact is established, a link is created or not. Sometimes he leaves with a small gift from the person, an anecdote, or just their portrait.

A photographic moment based on a brief exchange with these individuals. Antaki tries to make the audience feel the personality of the place and the owner.

He is interested in the relationship between the environment and the attitude of the Guardians, how they position themselves in their own space. He becomes the director of their universe and shows them their day to day life through his eye and his camera.

He wants people to realize that these places are the heart and soul of the city. That they are filled with passion and stories managed by these keepers of a tradition and a memory.

The Guardians is also an urban installation. He covers empty windows of shops for rent with life-size prints of different Guardians, in order to create an ambiguity in the urban landscape and try to raise awareness on the progressive disappearance of these shops.

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The Guardians is an ongoing project. I am overwhelmed by the love my project has received from across the world and I am looking forward to documenting more Guardians across the globe.
 
I'm currently working on a traveling exhibit and I'm actively looking for sponsors in hosting cities to help out. 
 
The idea is to cover all empty windows of shops for rent, all around the world, with life-size prints of different Guardians, in order to create ambiguity in the urban landscape and also to raise awareness on the progressive disappearance of these shops.

Take a look at the pictures below the two videos to get a better idea of the concept.

If you wish to help in any way, please contact me: vlad@artistic-agitators.com
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Ma série photographique "Les Gardiens » est née de mon désir de documenter et de rendre hommage à tous ces gens, ces gardiens des temples urbains, que nous rencontrons chaque jour sans réellement remarquer.

Ma démarche initiale s’appuie sur un principe de déambulation hasardeuse dans la ville. Donc, je voyage et dès que j’arrive dans une ville, je me perds. Donc, du matin au soir je pars à la recherche de ces lieux magiques dans lesquels ces Gardiens se trouvent, et lorsque je trouve un endroit où l’attraction visuelle est forte, je rentre, je me présente et je prends un portrait de cette personne au centre de son univers. Et ce portrait doit être pris dans les toutes premières minutes de rencontre avec l’individu.

J'ai exploré 16 villes jusqu'à présent et rencontré près de 300 Gardiens.

C’est très important que le Gardien me regarde comme s’il regardait un inconnu pour que tout le monde puisse s’identifier en fait.
J’ai trouvé des centaines d’endroits magiques, surchargés d’éléments, de couleurs, remplis d’histoires, gardés à chaque fois par ces personnages qui sont parfois touchants, drôles, excentriques et quelque fois effrayants.

Ces personnes deviennent des amis, pas tout le temps mais la plupart du temps ce sont des personnes que je retourne voir lorsque je suis de passage dans la ville. Par exemple lorsque je suis à Paris, c’est impossible pour moi de ne pas passer un moment chez Baba qui est le cireur de chaussures de la rue Jean Mermoz. C’est un personnage haut en couleurs où il se passe toutes sortes de choses, où l’on rencontre toutes sortes de personnes de différents milieux sociaux et Baba est un ami proche maintenant. 

C’est une façon de connecter les gens à travers la photographie, d’essayer d’éliminer ces barrières, ces espèces de barrières mentales lorsqu’on voit un endroit et qu’on se dit que cet endroit est trop étrange, excentrique pour que je rentre dedans. C’est pour ça que j’amène ces photos dans un contexte urbain. Que ce soit dans les vitrines des magasins désaffectés comme je l’ai fait à Montréal, ou dans le métro de Paris comme ce que j’essaye de faire. C’est une façon d’éliminer les murs et les portes en donnant accès directement à ces endroits aux gens dans la ville. Ça a l’air de fonctionner parce que les gens posent énormément de questions sur la série et veulent en savoir un peu plus sur ces lieux magiques.

J’espère très sincèrement que ces Gardiens vont encore être là pour de très nombreuses années et que leur métier va se transmettre de génération en génération car je crois très sincèrement qu’ils sont l’âme et le coeur de chacune de nos villes et que c’est très important pour nos générations futures de découvrir ces endroits, de savoir que ces endroits-là existent et de ne pas juste évoluer dans une société où tous les commerces sont aseptisés et qui se ressemblent à travers le monde. J’espère contribuer dans ce sens là à cette préservation, à cette documentation anthropologique de notre société à travers mes photographies et les témoignages que je récupère à chaque fois que je tire le portrait à l’un de ces Gardiens.

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Jainul - NYC
Marie - Montreal
Curtis - Philadelphia
Charles - Philadelphia
Anastacia - Philadelphia 
Dale - Philadelphia
Harold - Philadelphia
Menick - Montreal
Daniel - Paris
Mark - Montreal
Emily - London
David - London
 
Ernst - Vienna
Alyssa - Montreal
Abou Georges - Beirut
Rachid - Paris
Daniel - Las Vegas
Birdman - NYC
Richard - Montreal
Vincent - Paris
Abdelatif - Marrakesh
Jamal - Marrakesh
Mohamed - Marrakesh
Leo - Paris
Corey - Montreal
Hagop - Beirut
Alain - Bordeaux
Gregor - Berlin
Phillipp - Berlin
Abraham - Beirut
Jean- Bernard - Bordeaux
Edwige - Paris
Charbel - Paris
Baba - Paris
Yann - Paris
Fouad - Beirut
Andreas - Vienna
Louie - London
Avok - Beirut
Pierre - Bordeaux
Charly - Bordeaux
Abdo - Beirut
Catherine - Montreal
Yacek - Paris
Anne - Paris
Denis - Montreal
Esther - Montreal
Juan - Mexico
Mario - Mexico
Jose - Mexico
Adolfo - Mexico
Miguel - Mexico
Adric - Mexico
Peter - Bordeaux
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The idea is then to cover all empty windows of shops for rent, all around the world, with life-size prints of different Guardians, in order to create ambiguity in the urban landscape and also to raise awareness on the progressive disappearance of these shops.
Take a look at the pictures below to get a better idea of the concept.

If you wish to help in any way, please contact me: vlad@artistic-agitators.com
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On Tuesday October 21st 2014, six of my GUARDIANS took over the empty windows of Montreal's Main street, the Boulevard Saint Laurent.
 
Jainul from NYC, Eef from Amsterdam, Birdman from NYC, Baba from Paris, Fouad from Beirut and Denis from Montreal.

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THE GUARDIANS featured in the first francophone daily in the Middle East: L'Orient Le Jour (November 3rd 2014) 

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THE GUARDIANS featured in French weekly VSD (September 25th - October 1st) 

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THE OTHER HUNDRED - ENTREPRENEURS EDITION
 
I am very proud and touched to announce that my Guardians have been selected among the 100 winners of the 2014/2015 edition of The Other Hundred book. 

My work will be representing Canada.

These 100 photo stories celebrate the diverse range of activities that everyday entrepreneurs from all around the world engage in.

The Other Hundred is a unique not-for-profit photo-book initiated by the Global Institute For Tomorrow (GIFT) aimed at providing a counterpoint to the mainstream media consensus about some of today's most important issues.

At its heart, The Other Hundred is an attempt to introduce readers to the vast majority of people, ideas, places and cultures simply ignored by most major media publications. Whether it is an excessive focus on extremes of wealth or poverty, the obsession with whatever is dominating the current news cycle or the pushing of a particular political agenda, mainstream news no longer accurately reflects the experience of most people around the world.

Through an annual series of books, each focusing on a particular issue or subject, The Other Hundred will provide an alternative and refreshing view on everything from people and their homes to performers, chefs and authors.

The Other Hundred, Entrepreneurs is due for publication in December 2014/ January 2015.
 
 
 
 
 
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THREE OF MY GUARDIANS WERE DISPLAYED ON OVER 300 JCDECAUX BUS BILLBOARDS ACROSS 101 FRENCH CITIES INCLUDING PARIS, MARSEILLE, LYON, TOULOUSE, VERSAILLES...
LOOK FOR THE PICTURES BELOW.

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SIMULATION DANS LE MÉTRO PARISIEN: