The Guardians © Vladimir Antaki
For his series "The Guardians" Antaki traveled across Europe, the Middle East and America, photographing shopkeepers or »Guardians«. These Guardians are keepers of what Antaki terms »urban temples«, unique spaces which, in an age of cookie-cutter, corporate shops, hearken back to an earlier time and mode of urban life. Antaki creates visually arresting portraits of the Guardians that make the viewer connect to the beauty of these often forgotten spaces. Antaki believes that these temples are the heart and soul of every city; they are what give the urban center its uniqueness in time and place. There is also a duty of memory associated with these spaces. As so many of them are closing, it falls to artists such as Antaki to preserve their memory and pay them tribute.
The book includes portraits and statements from 45 shopkeepers and artisans from Beirut, Berlin, Bordeaux, Istanbul, London, Mexico City, Miami, Montréal, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Venice Beach.