What after all, is any photographic portrait but the trace element of a transaction made between two people of unequal power? Looked at this way, what shines through Mr. Grabowski's portraits isn't anything as simple and impossible as truth, but rather a kind of Hippocratic oath that, above all, the artist will do no harm. Captured against a gray backdrop is the promise sought by the more vulnerable people of the Downtown Eastside, as the rest of us decide what can and should be done to change the face of their community.

— David Beers, Globe and Mail


Late last summer [1999], Christopher Grabowski set up a portrait studio in a disused bank building on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, which is Canada's poorest urban neighbourhood, and let it be known on the street that he wished to take portraits of people who lived there.  The result was Facing the Eastside, an exhibition of Grabowski's photographs which opened in November at the Roundhouse Community Centre near the upscale condo developments in the centre of the city... These portraits are an attempt to give back something to the people we see in them, to offer them a straightforward likeness and not a sociological statement. At the same time these portraits remind us of how much we read into faces, how much physiognomy is part of the way we read the world.

— GEIST  magazine