HAMILTON (known in some circles as The Hammer) is Canada’s steeltown – a city of factories and smoke-laden skylines – roughly 40 miles (65 kilometres) southwest of TORONTO. With a population of about 500,000, Greater Hamilton boasts one of the country’s top universities, a growing arts community, one daily newspaper, a major medical centre, a botanic garden, television station and fine art gallery. <PHOTO ABOVE – Hamilton from Devil’s Punch Bowl/2009>
JOSEPH HARTMAN, a Hamilton resident, has spent 7 years photographing his city’s East End, a cross-section of working class neighbourhoods and the surrounding landscape. With globalization, times are tough these days – marked by desolate downtown streets and the increase of low end stores. The citizenry waits for a rebirth as heavy industry slowly, but surely, leaves town.
<PHOTO ABOVE – Joseph Hartman by Scott Gardner, Hamilton Spectator>
“Hamilton isn’t a perfect sort of idyllic kind of place, but there is a beauty which I think is quite unique. There’s a lot of resilience in Hamilton. There’s this sort of gritty personality and I mean that in a good way,” Hartman says.
“I love that Hamilton’s not trying to pretend to be something else. Hamilton’s happy with what it is.”
<PHOTOS ABOVE – Gage Park/2008; Feast/2010; Canada Street/2010; Hughson Street/2011; Hamilton From Above Sherman Avenue/2011>