This is only a small chunk of the vibrancy of this lane.

I love Toronto alleyways SO. VERY. MUCH.

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She, giggling, I thought, over a boxcar made from the remnants of Tim Horton’s Timbits combo, he knocks on the thick plastic window after he, begrudgingly, exits at his station. His eyes are wide and deer-eyed… filled up with excitement of a first kiss just plucked from her cautious lips. She doesn’t look up. He slinks as he turns away and the train pulls away and she giggles more. She is completely unaware of the melancholy she just delivered.

The furious fluster of her thumb tips tell me she is texting a friend. Likely regaling details of a date she’d thought had ended, but which he was still clinging to the end of. In my day this would have resulted in an all night ICQ session between the two.

What do the teens in love do now?

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I went to Daytona in mid April, and have been sitting on a whole lot of photos. I went to a gorgeous property and got to experience my first southern boil. It was incredible.

I feel like one day I’ll write some words about this experience but I think the photos really do speak for themselves.  Plus they’re captioned. Hope you enjoyed.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in The Beache(s) lately, which is incredibly gorgeous and lovely, but sorely lacking in graffiti.

I went to New York over the long weekend for a whirlwind visit and fed a bit of my street art craving, albeit with a myriad of styles.

Our first our in Manhatten brought us up to the high line, where a fascinating installation caught my attention.

wpid-img_20150523_113848.jpg  The Evolution of God

We then continued on to Park Slope, Brooklyn, where this huge mural made us smile after we exited the subway system.

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More smiles evoked from the extensive display of chalkboard art; the two favourites being:

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Char No. 4 was our Saturday night destination and despite being with the most attractive and delightful crew of Bourbon tasters, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the ceiling.

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After dinner we gallivanted through Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, where I was taken in by a yarned window display, a bar shroud in bamboo mats, and a slightly creepy mural alongside some eerily silent train tracks.

Our last stop of the evening was a fantastic South Florida-themed bar filled with shuffleboard pads and mini-sheets, giant Jenga, Connect Four and the most simple and infuriatingly entertaining Belini ring game.

The washroom in the bar is dreamy and is probably one of the most photographed areas of the building.

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Our last morning, the art was in the gluttony of the huge doughnuts we devoured with vigor.

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On our way back to the bus we came across a few more pieces of street art in the style I normally capture at home.

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Daytime travel meant that the crisp vistas through Upstate New York and Pennsylvania provided us with the last beautiful visions of our trip…

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Before of course the cheap spiced rum in the duty free before the short stretch home.

NYC, you never disappoint.

I haven’t quite learned yet that, even if it is physically a shorter distance, going through back alleys will almost certainly lead to a longer walk. What was supposed to be a forty-five minute journey, door-to-chore-to-door, doubled into an almost two hour excursion, where I found beautiful back alley urban decay, street art, shadows, and even accidentally went to an art show. There are no pictures of that because it was still in set up mode, but there are plenty of others:

I’d like to dedicate the second half of this post to the good folks at Blundstones on Queen, who not only got me set up with some sweet sheepskin inserts, some winter socks, and a full cleaning, conditioning and waterproofing of my leather babies, they also let me steal some power off them for a couple minutes. This meant I was able to capture this next set which is, at maximum, ten minutes of frantic frame-grabbing:

It was immediately after this one took that the phone vibrated to a close. There were at least four other stunning murals within view, and I hadn’t even taken photos of all of the ones in the row… just my favourites. It felt like I passed through some sort of intensely saturated streetart-alleywalk teleportation tunnel.  Despite my frequent strolls of this nature, this was something special.

I’m off tomorrow morning to go spend time deep in nature, where the alleys will be trees and the murals are made from the ways that the light plays with the bare branches and the snow mounds. I can’t wait!

Happy Weekend!

L

In February of 2012 I went to Bogota Colombia. I lost my camera and it was a blessing in disguise.

Last week, the charging port on my incredibly old Galaxy Nexus finally (not surprisingly) stopped working, and I had to go a whole six days without a phone. A good portion of this time was spent prepping for and being in nature, so it’s not like I needed access to telecommunication towers:

photo by Aubrey Iwaniw

In fact, I proudly announced on social media that I would be going untethered for an uncertain amount of time. I then spent the weekend oscillating between feeling SO free, and feeling SO desirous of a chance to capture the world around me and share it with the world that wasn’t around me.

Then I got back to the city. Now, I wasn’t entirely ‘untethered’ because I have email, fb messenger and g-chat on my computer (where I can also make phone calls [that make it seem like I’m in California {I wish!}]), and a boyfriend with a working cellphone for the time when I needed to call my lovely Momma, but it was the INSTANT PHOTOS that I was feeling such a state of withdrawal from. It cannot be coincidental that you’re in a constant state of ‘tapping’ on that app, loving photos as a little ritualistic prepping for your own hit of sharing your experiences to a (potentially) massive audience.  I don’t have one of those, but I do have a loyal following of friends and faraway strangers that tell me that they love seeing the world through my eyes. I love looking back on what I see too.

So… today, my dear friend lent me his unused ‘museum piece gadget’ that has gotten me back on track… er… alley… to being the chronicler of the kind of daily things I notice, and can’t help but share.

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Here’s today’s findings:

Thanks for wanting to see what I see, dear ‘readers.’ I would continue to do this either way, but it’s a lot nicer knowing all these pixels are getting processed.

xL

The past week has been mighty full of art and design. I know I frequently say on this site that this city is full of art with or without big sponsored festivals, but there’s something about Design Week in Toronto that reinvigorates my desire to get out and about to see and do.

Last week I got down to Come Up To My Room, which I wrote a post about with some of my pictures over at Galerie CO’s Chez CO.

Here’s one of those shots of the inimitable Wendy Tancock, in the reflection of one of the gorgeous mirrors in the Gladstone Hotel Melody Bar, enhanced by the installation ‘Innerventions’ by Time and Desire.

Earlier in the week, I managed to see some other beauty in the city, in parks, alleys, on sidewalks:

It’s usually a better idea to do alleywalks during the daytime because of light, warmth, and safety conditions, but I’ve been lucky enough to have had some alley company in the last week too.  The first three are terrible quality/resolution, but there’s something sort of ethereal and ghostly about them so I’ve kept them in.  The library is on Sherbourne street and I just absolutely love how simple the design is. The library is like a community beacon. I’d like to hope that draws more visitors in!  The three blueish beauties at the end are from an expansive mural in the same park as Allan Gardens. Were it not for the use of peeling away some of the paint to emulate the moon, I’d never have guessed that the walls were made from metal. The mural is huge, and by multiple artists, and it changes depending on the lighting and where you stand. It’s really beautiful. The splash of crafty colour is from one of the windows at.. The Bay? Holt Renfrew? Seriously don’t know. We were decidedly uninspired by the ‘window installations’ (read overpriced purses hanging limply from fishing wire) on Bloor St, but this one made me stop. Imagine folding all those little squares? Imagine conceptualizing the origami into a piece like that?  That’s what you need in window displays. The head is called, well ‘Gumhead’ and is one of many Douglas Coupland installations going on in our city right now. While I was trying my best to get a shot in focus, Mike SAW that orange gumball that’s on the ground fall from the tip of the nose. Interactive art, MAN.

 

This last gallery is a classic Notice What You Notice entry. I saw some colour down an alleyway, and the rest was history.

One more to share this time is this shot I took while laying on my stomach on the boardwalk down by the water. I watched the sheets of ice ride waves, be waves and break waves. The ducks and geese were somehow still swimming in the frigidly cold water, which twinkled in the sun, and clinked around like glasses gently being ‘cheers!’d at a cocktail party.

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Going on these photo adventures in the Winter is suuuuuuper fun, but they can certainly be chilly! Stay warm, lovelies!wpid-img_20150123_150944.jpg

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