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Vladimir Antaki’s “The Guardians” project depicts shop owners


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Photographer Vladimir Antaki has traveled to multiple cities in order to capture portraits of vendors in their own shops and to create “The Guardians” photo series.

Overrun by large malls, more and more small shops are closing their businesses, but, thankfully, there are still lots of such stores around the world.

We see these people almost daily and we enter these shops in order to make a quick purchase. However, the problem is that we rarely interact with them or see the beauty of these locations.

A Montreal-based photographer is looking to preserve the memory of the shopkeepers while paying a tribute to them. As a result, Vladimir Antaki has visited nine cities and has created a project, called “The Guardians”, which consists of hundreds of portraits of shop owners in their stores.

Photographer travels around the world to meet “The Guardians” of small shops

Vladimir Antaki has traveled to nine cities in order to meet “The Guardians” of small shops. The French photographer has decided to document their lives and he has found out that they all have different personalities.

Some of them are funny, some are emotional, while some can frighten you, says the artist. The portraits are captured during the first encounter, but we do not know whether the photographer has visited the shop owners multiple times after his first meeting.

Vladimir says that the shopkeepers will sometimes give him a small gift in order to have an even better memory of them. However, most of the time their portrait is everything he manages to grab.

The cities visited by Antaki for his photography project are Montreal, Las Vegas, New York City, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, and Beirut, while the total number of “guardians” stands at about 250.

Vladimir Antaki is aiming to preserve the memory of the vendors and their shops

The photographer added that most of these people do not have a photo of them and their shop. As you can imagine, it gives them great joy that someone has been thinking about them and has found a way to preserve their memory.

Vladimir Antaki adds that he loves to get to know these people and to find out more about their relationship with the surroundings and the people who visit their shops.

Such small stores are visually rich. Lots of products are just sitting there, waiting to grab the attention of the visitors. They are simply perfect for photography and sometimes we need a photo to see the beauty of a certain place.

The Montreal-based artist also has a personal website where you can check out his works. You can visit the site from time to time and see if “The Guardians” collection grows.

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