Plumb­ing the depths of pho­to­graphic in­spi­ra­tion

Toronto artist flush with fol­low­ers thanks to new toi­let-themed art project

Midtown Post - - News - by Jes­sica Padykula

Scrolling through In­sta­gram, much of what we come across con­sists of styl­ized food shots, im­pos­si­bly cute an­i­mals and as­pi­ra­tional travel pho­tos. Some­thing we don’t ex­pect to see is toi­lets. But that’s ex­actly what Dan Schau­mann posts pic­tures of.

The Toronto res­i­dent has taken it upon him­self to show­case unique bath­rooms all over the world on his pho­tog­ra­phy blog and In­sta­gram ac­count, Toilog­ra­phy, a term he coined to de­fine toi­let pho­tog­ra­phy. What be­gan as a joke — his in­au­gu­ral post was a photo of a square-shaped toi­let at his brother’s house in Townsville, QLD, Aus­tralia — has mor­phed into a se­ri­ous pho­tog­ra­phy project for Schau­mann, who has snapped pic­tures of hun­dreds of toi­lets in his trav­els.

“I wasn’t very se­lec­tive about the toi­lets I took pics of,” he said. “But it pro­gressed over the next few years to me seek­ing out specif­i­cally in­ter­est­ing ones.”

And he goes far and wide to seek the most cam­era-wor­thy cans he can find, ex­plain­ing it has been an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence us­ing toi­lets as a fo­cus to se­lect his travel des­ti­na­tions. Much like some­one else might travel for ar­chi­tec­ture or food, Schau­mann does what he calls “toi­let tours” through var­i­ous cities, the first of which was in Chicago. He asked peo­ple on­line for their sug- ges­tions for in­ter­est­ing bath­rooms across the Windy City and had a fan­tas­tic re­sponse. “It gave me a wealth of ma­te­rial for In­sta­gram in the process.” There’s now a grow­ing in­ter­est in Toilog­ra­phy, and he’s see­ing his view­er­ship grow. “Toi­lets are a mun­dane daily ne­ces­sity to most of us, so I think it takes peo­ple by sur­prise when they see one that’s out of the or­di­nary,” said Schau­mann.

Hav­ing pho­tographed toi­lets all over the world, he does have sev­eral favourites right here in Toronto. “The Poop Café is my favourite be­cause the whole café is toi­let themed. You sit on toi­lets in­stead of seats. You eat out of toi­let-shaped bowls, and there are ridicu­lous toi­let-and­poop-emoji-themed car­toons all over the wall.” He’s also a fan of the graf­fiti-cov­ered bath­rooms at Sneaky Dee’s.

As one might sus­pect, he’s de­vel­oped opin­ions on what con­sti­tutes the per­fect lava­tory. “An ideal bath­room, in my opin­ion, is any one that has a unique or un­usual fea­ture to it. It could be a piece of art­work on the wall, some witty graf­fiti or an in­ter­est­ing tex­ture on its tiles,” he notes. “Ba­si­cally, any­thing that isn’t a plain white wash­room.”

L–R: a loo at a bar in Cork, Ire­land; a toi­let at Ja­leo in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

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