Toronto street signs

Toronto street sign typologies

Toronto street signs are pretty much the perfect subject for a photographic typology. Made famous by German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, typologies group together like forms to highlight both difference and similarity at the same time. For the Bechers it was the quickly fading industrial architecture of their homeland (and then later the England and U.S.) that made up their central focus, but the technique -- or perhaps strategy -- has been applied to all sorts of things over the last 50 or so years.

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Flickr member E. Victor C. may not have such lofty high-art aims as the Bechers, but his typologies of our city's street signs will surely delight Torontonians. Although ostensibly a basic subject, the grouping together of the signs transforms the project into something fascinating. Put simply, the sum is greater than its parts.

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According to a post the photographer made on Urban Toronto, he's spent some 10 years documenting Toronto's sign-scape. Once you take a longer look at his Flickr stream, this only makes sense. Over and above the typologies grouped by geography (Downtown, Uptown, North York, West End, etc.), there are also thematic collections (Habitations, Congregations, Inebriations, etc.), which are both humourous and demonstrative of the scope of the project.

More recent photos in E. Victor C.'s stream indicate that he's also working on documenting other signage around the city. Keep it up, I say! I love Toronto-based photo projects of this nature, and this is one of the coolest I've seen.

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More photos can be found here.


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