CM Archive
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John De Visser.

Toronto, Oxford University Press, c1982.
unpaged, cloth, $15.95.
ISBN 0-19-540338-K.

Grades 9 and up.
Reviewed by Ches Sulkowski.

Volume 11 Number 2.
1983 March.

Southwestern Ontario is the final publication on Oxford's Regional Portraits of Canada. It is the last book in a series that will be then compiled to form a new publication called Canada From Coast to Coast.*

It is a handsomely arranged compilation of photographs representing the many historical buildings, sites, landscapes, and peoples of southwestern Ontario. The photographs are by John de Visser who, as a well-known photographer, has contributed to and published in many books including several from this series: Newfoundland and Labrador, The Yellowhead Route, Quebec and the St. Lawrence and Upper Canada Village. A brief introduction to the book by Orlo Miller offers some historical background to the photographs. Miller is best known for his work with the CBC and his famous books on trie Donnelly Family.

There are ninety colour plates in all and include a wide variety of subject matter. The most impressive compositions are of landscapes. Works such as "Sunflowers," "Stockyard Market," "Spring Barley," "Misty Morning," "Farm near Listowel," and "Highway 401" are all exquisite examples of the artistic abilities of the photographer. His "St. Paul's," "Anglican Church, Port Burwell," "Mennonite Church" and1 "CPR Station" are excellent architectural studies that are sensitively displayed.

As a documentation of a region, it is successful in portraying to the viewer the many beautiful settings and centres of culture that exist throughout. As a picture book it has its weaknesses. Unfortunately, there are too many uninteresting colour plates that seem to be there to either fill space or to exist or record only for the sake of documentation. Some plates are poorly composed and inconsistent in colour quality and did not always portray its subject in its most attractive elements. Poor methods in reproduction seem to be the culprit for some, causing colours to appear unnatural and dulled; some were simply out of focus. Improper labelling in no.82, "Picking Beans, Essex County," does not help its cause. Although it has its weaknesses, there are many photographs worthy of attention, and it could be recommended as a picture book or documentation of a most interesting region of Ontario. Recommended for all libraries.

*Reviewed vol. X/4 November 1982 p.266.

Ches Sulkowski, Annandale H. S., Tillsonburg, ON.
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