Indie of the Week – In The Alley by Leonid Rozenberg

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Welcome to an all-new feature here at All About the Image.

The net has given us a new found power to bring our projects to the world with crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indie Gogo. Artists, inventors and entertainers are able to raise valuable funds to make their ideas come to life, further democratizing the way we consume. And within those huge communities lie thousands of bold, independent projects just waiting for a chance. This feature seeks to expose you to the best and brightest of these artists, with the hope that you’ll support and nurture their ideas and projects.

Up first In the Alley : a Love Letter to an Urban Vein by Canadian photographer Leonid Rozenberg. Leonid is currently raising funds through Indie Gogo to publish a book of beautifully shot photos of Toronto alleys and the graffiti that covers them. Get an even better idea about what drove Leonid with this video:

We contacted Leonid for a bit of a background on the project:

I started photographing in the alley in the early 1990s – it was already in full swing visually. Struck by its ‘art installation’ vibe, I became enamored with it’s ever changing imagery, rough and ready attitude, and a full range of human emotion – liberally applied to its walls, doorways …

After more then 20 years of interacting with this weird and wonderful beast, I feel its time to take stock – mark the passage of time. Create a visual document that celebrates this landmark, which, for all its visual incarnations, remains remarkably unchanged – in its architecture as well as function. This alleyway needs to be acknowledged – it has contributed greatly to the flavour of downtown Toronto, and will continue to do so for years – decades to come!

I believe this alley is Toronto’s outlet for free expression. On par with Speakers Corner of Hyde Park and Democracy Wall in Beijing.

Here’s are some of Leonid’s photographs, followed by a bit of a background story.

Back in the Day

This is one of the earliest photos I took in the alley (1992). A perfect example of text-driven graffiti that made up majority of the stuff on the walls. Seems almost charming and primitive when compared to the visually sophisticated and diverse images you see there now.


Brick Angel (at top) & Fly Girl

These are in the traditional portraiture vein … evidence of art students discovering the alley and embracing its spirit


Judgement Day

Some of the graffiti strikes a chord and is left untouched by taggers and the smart-alec comment crew … this one was on the wall for at least couple of years.


Lost Beauty

Some go out of their way to find quiet corners for their art – probably in hopes of a longer life-span for their work. This one was hidden behind a back door to a laundromat.

Lost Beauty

Red Ford

Since Rob Ford became a mayor and declared war on graffiti, the alley became filled with his imagery … this is the most flattering one.

RedFord (2)

Transition Roar

One of the most fascinating things about photographing in this alley for over two decades has been the opportunity to see how the images change almost daily on the same stationary walls.


Please visit Leonid’s campaign page. Being a fan of Canadian work, we’re hoping you’ll consider helping fund Leonid’s project. This is a great series of photographs that the world deserves to see.