Brief biography of Patrick Cummins

Patrick Cummins graduated from Ontario College of Art (1982) specializing in drawing and photography. He obtained a BA in fine art and philosophy (1983/1984) and an MA in philosophy (1986) from the University of Guelph, writing his thesis on the production and reception of meaning in photographic images.

Between 1986 and 2018 he worked with the Metro Toronto and City of Toronto archival programs, specializing as an Archivist working with photographic, cartographic and architectural records. He was curator of five major archival exhibitions during this period.

For over 40 years, he has undertaken numerous projects as a photographer exploring the conventions of documentary practice. He has photographed aspects of Toronto’s built environment, conducting comparative studies in time and space, documenting the transformation and survival of ordinary residential and commercial structures that constitute the fabric of the city’s many neighbourhoods.

He has participated in numerous exhibitions at various galleries (1981 to present), including several solo shows. His work has appeared in publications, books and films, and on many websites, most notably in the documentary Impermanence of the Ordinary (Dale Sood, 2013), and in his own book, Full Frontal T.O.: Exploring Toronto’s Architectural Vernacular, with text by Shawn Micallef (Coach House Books, 2012). The former was an official selection at Hot Docs, and the latter was a finalist in the Toronto Book Awards and winner of an Award of Excellence from Heritage Toronto. His work can be found in private collections and in the permanent holdings of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (a program of the National Gallery of Canada), and the City of Toronto Archives.

Patrick Cummins