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Queen and Yonge looking North 1977-2007

Posted by
Damon Schreiber (Toronto, Canada) on 30 July 2007 in Cityscape & Urban and Portfolio.

Sakamoto/Schreiber - Toronto 1977-2007 series starts here.

Continued from yesterday

What was intriguing about these photos was that, for the most part, they depicted familiar places, sites that are easy enough to find for someone who knows the city, and they were great documentary photos. They gazed out at the streets and the streetlife, not through the typical touristy lens ('Look at me in front of the Eiffel Tower!'), and they didn't attempt to capture decisive moments or interesting people and events per se. Instead they gazed out at the urban landscape and captured what was there: the architecture, the people, and the vehicles. And with time, the value in such photos increases - they become a great record of the places and times. Looking at them now, I can't help but think of them as proto-photoblog images. To me, they're very modern in their outlook, and the choice of composition and subject - their very 'coolness' - wouldn't be at all out of place were they taken today.

I gathered friends and co-workers around the computer screen to look. These are people who were familiar with the streets of Toronto in that era, and mostly they were fascinated by the cars, but also by the indefinable sense of energy. We made guesses on dates, with estimates ranging from 1972 to 1984. But looking closely and hunting for clues, we pinned it down as the late seventies between 1977-1979.

Continued tomorrow.

Note: for the observant, this is just around the corner from here. And yes, I took that picture by chance as I set up to take this one.

Top image copyright Shige Sakamoto - 坂本政恵

High-res here (my image) and here (1977 image). The entire 1977 series can be viewed in context starting here.

[Queen & Yonge, Toronto]