I’m a people photographer, so I don’t take a lot of “roots and rocks” photos, as a colleague of mine once termed photos of, well, roots, rocks, … I do, however, like to make photos of the things we humans make—they often tell us a lot about ourselves, how we perceive each other and how we perceive ourselves in relation to our societies at large.

What?

OK, let’s look at some easy stuff. I’m currently in Toronto, and I’ve been looking at signs.  All kinds of signs. So, you say? There are signs everywhere. Yup: street names, directional signs, instructional signs, names of businesses. Three things to think about in regard to signs: words and what they say; images and graphics; and the larger implications.

Toronto was settled by Scotts and British, and there’s a fair amount of leftover cultural influence, easily seen in pub names and pub signs:

The Village Idiot pub, Toronto

 

British style Fish & Chips

and my favorite so far:

The Dog’s Bollocks, Toronto

Toronto prides itself on multiculturalism, also visible in signs:

Obama Cafe, Toronto
Art Gallery of Ontario
Art Gallery of Ontario

There’s sophisticated style:

Sophisticated signage for Preloved and Type, Toronto

New age:

Downward Dog signage, Tronto

Several flavors of off-beat:

Honest Ed’s, Toronto

No relation, by the way.

Dance club, entrance Toronto

And this, which is pretty straightforward and informational, but which tells me, among other things, that our neighbor to the north is on the forefront of the application of technology to basic needs. (Don’t forget, the Blackberry is Canadian.)

Bus stop with arrival information

Yes, if you want to know when the next bus or streetcar will arrive, just text the stop number and you’ll get an answer in real time. (Public transportation here works.)

More Toronto signs and signage.

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