A Room in the City

By (photographer): Gabor Gasztonyi

Introduction by: Harold Rhenisch

‘A Room in the City’ is a self-revelatory journey into a world of darkness and light, a place of blatant lies and transcendent truths. Photographer Gabor Gasztonyi presents a Vancouver with deep roots in an otherwise forgotten past, and an East End populated by people seeking shelter, safety, and love in extreme social conditions. ‘A Room in the City’ presents Gasztonyi’s five-year project of photogrpahing the residents of the Cobalt, Balmoral, Regent, and Sunrise Hotels in Vancouver’sDowntown Eastside, the poorest postal code in the country. They are represented in private moments, with respect and dignity-in their rooms and on the streets-as they wish to be seen. Gasztonyi’s style continues in the great documentation tradition of Czech photographer Zdenek Tmej and Jousef Koudelka, the photographer of the Roma.

” ‘A Room in the City’ is a haunting collection of photographs by Gabor Gasztonyi. … There’s more here than prostitution and crack pipes, although they’re in evidence. Whether confronting the lens or averting their gaze, the subjects expose their vulnerability but also their attachment to another human being or a cosseted pet. In the book’s foreword, addiction expert Gabor Maté notes that for many of these people, mental illness or substance abuse is a response to trauma. ‘Their entire life,’ he adds, ‘has been one of survival against odds.’ We’re left wondering how people have to live this way in Canada.” -Uptown Magazine

“Gabor Gasztonyi spent five years photographing and talking to the men and women of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and ‘A Room in the City’ is the mesmerizing result. The black-and-white images, and Gasztonyi’s diary entries, forcefully and unforgettably capture the desperation-and the unexpected glints of dignity and joy-of lives ravaged by poverty, drugs, mental illness and social dislocation.” -The National Post

Finalsit , George Ryga Award for Social Awareness In Literature


Harold Rhenisch

Harold Rhenisch lives in 150 Mile House, BC. He won the Confederation Poetry Prize, 1991, and the Arc Poem of the Year Award and the Critic’s Desk Award for best long poetry review, 2003. He has been a five-time runner-up in the CBC/Tilden/Saturday Night Literary Contest and won the BC & Yukon Community Newspapers Association Award for Best Arts and Culture Writing, 1996. His non-fiction book Tom Thomson’s Shack was shortlisted for two BC Book Prizes in 2000. Please visit www.haroldrhenisch.wordpress.com.


Gabor Gasztonyi

Gabor Gasztonyi has had numerous exhibitions across Canada, including Vancouver, Montreal, and the Arta Gallery in Toronto in 2008. His awards include the Professional Photographers of BC Nikon Prize in 2006, Society of Canadian Artists Award of Excellence in 2008, runner-up Magnum Scotiabank Scholarship, 2008, and a Canadian nomination for the International Black & White Spider awards in 2008. He operates a photography studio and art gallery in New Westminster, BC.


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200 Pages
9.25in * 10in * .54in


July 19, 2010



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