Review: Full Frontal T.O. by Patrick Cummins and Shawn Micallef
Title: Full Frontal T.O.: Exploring Toronto’s Architectural Vernacular
Photographer: Cummins, Patrick
Author: Micallef, Shawn
Length: 200 pages
Genre: Graphic / Pictorial
Publisher / Year: Coach House Books / 2012
Why I Read It: I love looking at old photos, as well as learning more about the city. This book combines both!
Date Read: 23/05/12
Cummins began taking photographs of buildings around the city in 1988, and over time he started documenting changes at the same locations, going back to photograph them year after year. This book is a collection of his photographs, often documenting the same building or stretch of buildings over a 14 year period, with a number of photos marking the sometimes minute changes, sometimes larger changes, that occurred over that time.
Most of the photo sets are accompanied by text from Micallef explaining some of the architectural details or changes that have passed through the series of photos and years. While I know next to nothing about architecture, that didn’t distract from my enjoyment. Although the descriptions didn’t always make a lot of sense, they were always interesting and sometimes hilarious (such as the house that was ‘regingerbreadized’ on page 57). I’m sure anyone with a knowledge or appreciation of architecture would enjoy the book even more, and get much more out of it.
If you love Toronto, architecture, or just the slowly changing urban landscapes, do check this book out. It has some fantastic photos and would make a great gift. If you want to know more about the book and the photos, you can check out the Full Frontal T.O. blog. Next on my to-do list is to go check out some of these places in real life – the book will definitely help me explore!