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Relics of the Future

2017, Documentary

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RELICS OF THE FUTURE is a feature documentary featuring internationally renowned photographer Toni Hafkenscheid, as he explores hidden stories behind iconic architectural structures once considered “Visions of the Future” from the 1960s.




Toni Hafkensheid is globally recognized as a pioneer of Tilt-Shift photography. His original method blurs the lines between reality and fiction by using a shallow depth of field to make some parts of an image appear to be soft while other parts are in focus. This technique makes the subject of his photos appear as though they are dioramas. By using Toni’s original style of fantasy-like photography as a story telling technique, we have a unique opportunity to visually represent how the realities of our past can dictate the visions for our future.


Award-winning photographer Toni Hafkenscheid was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. After graduating from the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 1989, Toni won the prestigious Kodak Award presented by The Netherlands Council for the Arts. He then moved to Canada where he was active in the arts community in Toronto and received several awards. In 1996, Toni moved back to Amsterdam to pursue a career as a commercial photographer and to teach photography at the Rietveld Academy. He also began a life long career as a Tilt-Shift photographer. Returning to Canada in 2003, Toni has exhibited in solo and group shows throughout Canada, the U.S., and Europe. His worldwide representation includes galleries in Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Germany and Amsterdam. In 2012, Toni’s Tilt-Shift photography was chosen as the poster and program art for the world’s biggest photography festival, Terra Cognita, Noorderlicht International Photofestival in Amsterdam. For more of Toni's Tilt Shift Photography visit:



Dutch-Canadian photographer Toni Hafkenscheid, was raised in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and witnessed the rebirth of his hometown after it was flattened during World War II.  After the massive bombings, the entire urban landscape of Rotterdam was transformed.  However, instead of trying to restore the city to its original form, urban planners decided to build a modern city ready for a prosperous future with endless possibilities.

As a young boy growing up in Rotterdam, Toni dreamed of a life inspired by the space race and became obsessed with images he saw on the television programs, The Jetsons and Thunderbirds.  Flying cars, moving sidewalks and giant domed metropolises dictated how life in the future was supposed to be.  Toni’s fondest memory of this time was the historical landing on the moon.  The possibility of an optimistic and technological future had become a reality. Unfortunately, what he considered the best year of his life, quickly became the worst. Five months after the moon landing, Toni’s mother died. He was only 10 years-old.

Toni holds the memory of his mother through a book she gave him just months before she passed. The book, called “Wonders of the World”, was filled with photographs of iconic architectural buildings and structures that represented the idealism of the 1960’s. Now almost 50 years later, Toni sets out on a journey across North America to explore and capture these iconic architectural structures that were once considered Visions of the Future.  Through the dream-like style of photography he helped create called Tilt-Shift, Toni hopes to recapture the beauty and wonder of these structures that inspired him all those years ago.   

Along his journey, Toni speaks with innovative thinkers and architectural experts about the creation and concepts behind these extraordinary buildings.  By unearthing the truth behind each iconic structure, Toni discovers what futuristic visions they once entailed and if they ever lived up to the potential they once promised.  Relics of the Future is a light-hearted look at the way we perceive life and embrace modern advancements.  Toni’s journey of self-discovery is a first-hand account of a man searching for the Visions of the Future from his childhood.  We follow Toni’s journey from Rotterdam to North America where iconic architectural structures of the past are captured through the lens of an optimistic photographer who only dreams of a better future.

Relics of the Future is part photography expose and part road story that explores innovative Visions of the Future that celebrate memories of Toni’s, and our, collective past.

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