“Two half-hitches could hold the Devil himself” was an expression often used by Andrew Blake McGill’s great-grandfather when working on his family farm, and functions as the title of McGill’s ongoing photographic series. A versatile and powerful binding knot, the half-hitch has many useful applications. The phrase serves as a lyrical and metaphorical description of what McGill accomplishes in his photographs by tightly weaving two distinct but complimentary perspectives of his hometown. Formerly working within the frenetic world of fashion and editorial photography in New York City, McGill has since returned to his hometown of Glencoe, Ontario, three hours southwest of Toronto. He helps operate his over-100-year-old family farm that produces and exports corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, and oats. Since returning to Canada, McGill has trained his lens on the lives and livelihood of the tight-knit community he once again calls home. In his photographs, McGill at once arrests the raucous, everyday happenings of Glencoe, as well as the colourful characters that live there, against the pastoral beauty of a distinctly familiar Canadian landscape.
Housed in one of Canada’s busiest and oldest public food markets, McGill’s photographs are suspended over the central pedestrian artery of St. Lawrence Market, where fish, produce, and meat are sold. In this context, McGill’s photographs draw connections to a space that has functioned as one of the city’s most important social and economic hearts since the early 19th century. Although modern agriculture is often thought of in large, industrialized formats, McGill’s family farm offers a window onto an intimate Canadian heritage that is as strong and vibrant as it is old.
Presented in partnership with St. Lawrence Market
Curated by Benjamin Freedman