“A Day in the Life” with Toronto photographer Neil Dankoff

Neil Dankoff was always a little different from the rest of our group of close friends. We were all driven, but while we each went after more conventional goals, Neil was more of a bucket list kind of guy. He loved animals and was involved in the pet industry for ten years after graduating university. Always a very creative individual, Neil also decided to write a screenplay, which took him two years to complete. Without being biased, it is one of the most interesting things I have ever read.

The first digital camera I ever saw was the one Neil purchased in the late ’90s. He loved the technology and brought that camera with him wherever he went. Neil loved the outdoors and nature, so landscape photography is what he decided to focus on. Over the years, his images became more and more impressive.  When he turned 40, he decided to take his first official photography trip to Israel with the intention of utilizing a technique he had been working on over the past year. Neil purchased special equipment that allowed him to stitch together multiple images, all taken in various exposures and focal points.

When Neil returned from Israel, he showed his work to the owner of Toronto’s Lonsdale Gallery, who was so impressed by his work that the gallery decided to represent Neil as one of its featured artists. For the next five years, Neil would be annually featured by the gallery in a month-long solo artist exhibit that would display his latest limited-edition photographs.

In 2013, Neil and his friends Derek and Kirsty Stern embarked on a photo trip to Africa. It was the first of many photo trips they would take together. In 2015, Neil, Derek and Kirsty joined forces to open their first Kandy Gallery in Montreal. It was around this time that Neil was contacted by the owner of a new hotel in development: Hotel X Toronto. The hotel was looking for one photographer to capture 800 landscape photos for all of the hotel’s rooms, corridors and lobby areas. Neil got the job and spent the next three years travelling the world in an attempt to complete this once-in-a-lifetime commission.

Hotel X Toronto opened in early 2018 with all 800 of Neil’s pieces on display. That commission ended up being the largest fine art photography transaction in Canadian history. Neil also opened a Kandy Gallery on the ground level of the hotel featuring his favourite photographs. Later that year, Kandy Gallery opened in Memphis.

Neil Dankoff at Hotel X Toronto's Kandy Gallery
Neil Dankoff at Hotel X Toronto’s Kandy Gallery
Working out at 10XTO’s fitness centre.
Neil in his office with his dog, Junior.
Taking a stroll with Junior through the lobby of Hotel X Toronto (it's pet-friendly!).
Taking a stroll with Junior through the lobby of Hotel X Toronto (it’s pet-friendly!).
Driving home after work.
Driving home after work.

What ‘hood are you in?

I live at Avenue and St. Clair.

What do you do?

I am a fine art photographer who focuses on landscapes and cityscapes. I currently own three galleries in Montreal, Toronto and Memphis.

What are you currently working on? 

I recently completed a photo trip to Hong Kong and Tokyo, where I photographed each city’s unique architecture. In a couple of weeks, I will be traveling to a newly opened Maldives resort (JOALI Maldives). The island resort commissioned me to spend a week there photographing their incredible landscapes from land, air and underwater.

Where can we find your work?

There are 800 of my original photographs displayed throughout Hotel X Toronto. As well, my three Kandy Galleries (including one at Hotel X Toronto) display some of my favourite works as well as my most recent pieces. My photographs can easily be viewed on the Kandy Gallery website, www.kandygallery.com, and on my Instagram account @neildankoff.




About Joel Levy 2552 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography