The Canadians playfully and affectionately reimagines one of the most revered photography books of the 20th century, Robert Frank’s The Americans. The source for the imagery is the print archive of The Globe and Mail, which contains more than 500,000 prints—24,000 of which have been donated to the newly formed Canadian Institute of Photography, housed within the National Gallery of Canada. Nearly 80 of these photographs have been selected for this book, and also form the basis for a national touring exhibition. These functionary press photographs, made to illustrate news stories—the state of the roads after a severe winter; a politician on the campaign trail; the opening of a new laundromat—hold no pretentions to be works of photographic art. However, taken together, they describe Canadian culture during an era of great transformation.
Published in association with the Archive of Modern Conflict, the book begins with an insightful and irreverent introduction by Douglas Coupland, bringing together themes illuminated in these photographs, and taking us on a guided tour of a Canada gone, but not forgotten. "How strange it is to look at these photos of a Canada that was almost dead when I was a child," he writes, "the Canada of my parents and my grandparents, the Canada of the late 1950s and early ‘60s, a country in which, it would seem, people were born, became teenagers, and then, magically, at the age of 21, turned into chain-smoking 50-year olds with undiagnosed cancers."