When the season descends you dazzle us with the springtime favourites: tulips and daffodils and big bursting blossoms on flowering trees. But its your delicate lilacs that lure me: that sweet, old-fashioned scent pulling my face into green leaves, those delicate buds breaking open into lavender, fuchsia, and white.
Sure, they’re perfuming up the parks and front gardens and back alleys, distracting photo-snappers with the near-allure of cherry blossoms. But the sweetest Syringa of all are those springing forth from a patch of cracked concrete by the fire escape of an old factory.
#1 reason to spend time in Toronto in May: the CONTACT photography festival.
This year I spent several days traipsing around the city checking out the collections. This one, Inside The Gate by Kent Krugh, was both my favourite exhibit and the hardest to find. An area where factories may once have hummed with activity but now sit still, contemplating, perhaps mourning. The gallery is somewhere inside one of these buildings. And there it is: pressed up against a stone wall that shields eyes and ears from nearby train tracks. There is no sign. Just an arrow — which could lead to anything. Up three flights of old steps, creaking and groaning. Through an unmarked door. And then into a dark room, windows blacked out. And when your eyes adjust to the lack of light, all that you see: illuminated photos against the black like apparitions.
The photos are 360 captures of trees. The objects around the trees — hydro lines, cars, people, gravestones — fade into the periphery. But with each angle you can see them, like memories, like ghosts.