Messy Urbanism Part 1 of 3: Toronto's fine-grained mess is photographer life's work, now book

From Blog TO writer Derek Flack: "The best representation of the changing nature of Toronto's streetscape over the last 30 years or so is surely the work of Patrick Cummins. A photographer with a keen eye for minor architectural details — be it alterations to signage or the makeshift renovations that tend to accompany a building's change in ownership — his images subtly capture the ebb and flow of our city's existence. "For the last few years the best way to get a sense of Cummins work was to pay a visit to his Flickr photostream.  With the release of Full Frontal TO: Exploring Toronto's Vernacular Architecture that has changed.

"Whether it's the typologies of variety stores and back-alley garages or the juxtaposition of buildings like 140 Boulton Avenue over a 25 year period, the way the photographs are laid out illustrates further the programmatic nature of Cummins' work.  This is highly organized documentation of the figurative marrow that makes up the bones of this city: its often under-appreciated vernacular architecture.

"Conventional wisdom dictates that Toronto lacks the photographic heritage of cities like New York and Paris.  While there's some truth to this, Cummins is very much our own Eugène Atget.  The great Parisian photographer wasn't interested in shooting sweeping panoramas of the city, but instead focused on storefronts and façades, the everyday architecture through which the character of the city is revealed.

"This is also the story of Cummins photographs.  Seldom beautiful by most standards, they nevertheless fascinate in their ability to show off what an adaptable and ever-changing city Toronto is."  Full post here and extensive interview here.