Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vanity Fair Portraits @ ROM

If you love portraiture, I highly recommend a visit to the ROM for the Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008 exhibit. I really enjoyed the vintage illustrated magazine covers and of course the portraits, oh the portraits! One of my favourites is the portrait of Hilary Swank running on the beach by Norman Jean Roy (2004) that was published in the March 2005 issue of Vanity Fair. I had never seen it before and it was simply beyond words. In fact, I think I may have gasped when I saw it.

The exhibit runs until January 3, 2010 and, if you have time to go between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, the event is free! I didn't take any photos today so this post contains two that I took in 2007. Click on the below photo to see more information about the exhibit.

I heard today that the ROM is considered to be among the ugliest buildings in the world. Sure enough, it was ranked 8th out of the 10 on the second annual list of the World's Top 10 Ugly Buildings by members and editors of (click on the below photo to read the Globe and Mail article on this). I know I'm in the minority but I actually like the building. I didn't think I would when it was being built but I do. I love that the crystal looks like it's bursting out from the old ROM. I love its asymmetric angles against the sky. As I walked towards it from Yonge and Bloor at dusk today, I found that it created a unique streetscape that would have been even more striking if the view wasn't marred by a bunch of ordinary and poorly dispersed buildings behind it.

The only other building I've seen in person that made the top 10 is the Pompidou in Paris and I'd have to agree with the list on that one! However, I have seen some fantastic photos of that building. One day, I'd like to visit a bunch of ugly buildings in Toronto and try to make them beautiful using my camera... which brings me to wonder, if you make a beautiful photo of an ugly building, is the building truly ugly?

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