Cities and the people who live in them are enduring subjects of photography. Winnipeg’s North End is one of North America’s iconic neighbourhoods, a place where the city’s unique character and politics have been forged. First built when Winnipeg was the “Chicago of the North,” the North End is the great Canadian melting pot, where Indigenous peoples and Old World immigrants cross the boundaries of ethnicity, class, and culture. Like New York’s Lower East Side, the North End is also the place that helped to forge Winnipeg’s political identity of resistance and revolt.
Award-winning filmmaker John Paskievich grew up in Winnipeg’s North End, and for the last forty years he has photographed its people and captured its spirit. Paskievich’s films, many made for the National Film Board of Canada, follow the lives of different outsiders, from Slovakian Roma to stutterers.
The North End Revisited brings together many of the photographs from Paskievich’s now-classic book The North End (2007) with eighty additional images to present a deep and poignant picture of a special community. Texts by art critics Stephen Osborne and Alison Gillmor and film scholar George Melnyk explore the different aspects of Paskievich’s work and add context from Winnipeg’s history and culture.
“Paskievich’s real, unadorned glimpse into the community and its people is striking, but most of the scenes and characters captured here aren’t pretty in the conventional sense. It’s his inclusion of these tarnished details – gritty streets, peeling piont and wrinkled, weary faces – that truly gives the work its unfiltered beauty. Similar to Winnipeg’s North End itself, Paskievish’s new book is a gem that can only be discovered, explored and cherished by a patient and sympathetic eye.”
“Paskievich’s art is born of a patience and honesty. Funny, poignant, angry by turns, it brims with rare compassion.”
“John Paskievich is a distinguished documentary filmmaker. Some of his work is about people for whom being at home in the world is difficult, impossible or an act of the imagination: Roma in Slovakia, Russians in the Canadian prairies, Inuit artists at home in the North. In The North End, he has performed a similar act of troubled, amused, sympathetic observation, this time with black-and-white photographs, shot over three decades, of people who live and work (or do not work, as the case may be) in Winnipeg’s North End.”
“This is a much-expanded edition of Paskievich’s 2007 collection of his several decades of street photography in North Winnipeg. Paskievich has an eye for the infinite strands of civic vitality in his turbulent home neighbourhood, and a magical ability to pluck the perfect moment from the vanishing collisions of time and place. There’s tremendous depth in these photos, and a humour that never fades.”
“Like the films of Guy Maddin and the rock songs of John K. Samson, Paskievich’s photographs capture a world that is both personal and eccentric. His is not the North End as endorsed by the chamber of commerce, but it is nevertheless one marked by dignity and humanity.”
“Paskievich’s book evidences the evolution of an admirably enduring relationship between a man and a place. Such long-term commitments have always called for more than just persistence; for an artist, they also require considerable courage. This is especially so today when an artist’s success increasingly demands the unceasing production of the fresh and the new. Too often it seems that the sparkly simplicity of a surface skim rather than the shaded complexity of the deep dive The North End Revisited so obviously represents is what is expected."
“A worthy update! Paskievich has found the elusive balance between historical documentation and esthetic perfection found in the likes of Robert Frank’s The Americans.”