Thursday Night in Toronto

Toronto late Thursday and back to check out the latest from DK PhotoGroup...Orphaned opened Thursday evening at The Hangman Gallery on Queen Street East.
Trying to figure it all out what it means to travel 100 miles and see double matted images of a spot just a few blocks away and abandoned down the street from my house. That DK from Toronto is doing this is bitter sweet. The attention and focus on the former orphan home on Dodge Street, a place I've toured with others dozens of times, is a very good thing. That folks in Buffalo, where we are weaned on architectural heritage, can't manage to fight our way out of a wet paper bag to even properly secure the place is on the whole rather despairing. Good conversations with folks tonite who were wondering if any of my East side neighbors were making the trip up to see the show. Began to explain about zen and our city...

By the time I left this evening more than one hundred people had an opportunity to see images of what's got under my skin, these past few years and just a few blocks away. Tonite several large prints evoked a deep sense of loss and things simply forgotten. Matt's black and white of a school chair especially, just pushed aside, surrounded by empty blackness hit me hard. Steve's shot of a statue shatterd - now in pieces, really - on the chapel floor, hands broken and beheaded, reminded me of what I've read of the carnage left behind in early modern europe. Senseless, random...how we care, and don't.

Each photographer had their own portfolio available providing additional context and scene setting shots so people who are unfamiliar with our abandoned orphan home can see the buildings in their larger context. And once inside the complex - the first building you will see is the Chapel, pictured above in the gallery's front window.

Guys, very nicely done especially the part where you brought a former resident of the orphan home, back to Dodge Street. Wonderful stories last month about the line out back separating the boy's and girl's sides and all the tunnels connecting various buildings.

The Hangman Gallery is about the same size as Buffalo's Gallery 164 on Allen Street and Orphaned runs through November 6th.

Get to know the folks from DK PhotoGroup. I'm sure we'll be hearing from them again, soon.

The Hangman Gallery [google map].


Anonymous said...

It is hard to get excited about this event. If this show was in Buffalo it would be a tremendous service to the city. Being shown in a city that already has a skewed view of Buffalo does not help save his building nor does it help Buffalo recover. It will only serve to harden the negative image of Buffalo Torontonians received from nightly viewings of Irv Weinsteins blaze buster stories.

fixBuffalo said...


think this is a bit of a stretch, these guys are calling attention to some serious issues here in buffalo and like yourself from Chicago the critique they levy is valid.

That said...i'm rather vested in this as I live close by and am working with others to bring the exhibit to Buffalo, probably during the Spring. Will keep you posted.

The blaze buster stories from "fire city" are a different matter..

Anonymous said...

I am a member of the DK Photogroup. Our goal with this show was not to depict Buffalo as a rundown city; it was to convey the history and experience of the orphanage through our images. To us abandoned buildings are not just empty shells that should be ignored or demolished. They are repositories of information, stories and personal histories that shouldn't be forgotten. We see the beauty in these buildings and want to show others what we see.

I am not sure that your generalization of Torontonian's attitudes towards Buffalo is appropriate. While the city certainly has fallen on hard times that does not detract from it's beauty. Buffalo is a city full of stories to be told and beauty that is too often missed.

Anonymous said...


Sorry to miss the opening night (you weren't looking for the girl on crutches were you?) as we had sudden visitors appear but we're going this afternoon.

Certainly this exhibit should also be shown in Buffalo but I think it's valuable for Torontonians too. We have do have some negative ideas about Buffalo, but you know what? An exhibit like this can also show us the architectutural possibilities in Buffalo. It's not like any of us would drive to Buffalo and see the buildings (at least, not until we realize there might be something worth seeing). After all, this is a city where any architecturally interesting old building has already been bought, renovated to within an inch of its life or too overpriced.... heh maybe it'll suck a few of the rehabbers out of 416/905! Not too mention artists who can't find cheap downtown space anymore.

Anonymous said...

oops when I said "this is the city where any architecturally interesting has already been bought and renovated...or too overpriced" I meant Toronto, of course. ironic that it's probably cheaper to buy the fixed up downtown Victorian than to buy and renovate the dilapidated one ...not that I can afford to do either right now.

Anonymous said...

Still, 99% of Trontonians will see this as an affirmation that there is nothing but derelict buildings in Buffalo.

To be sure there is real beauty in dead buildings, a sad beauty. But Buffalo will not save these buildings or its self by counting on this type of cultural tourism. The biggest weight hanging on Buffalo's neck is its very poor national (international) image. Toronto is possibly Buffalo's biggest asset. Reinforcing a negative image in that city will do Buffalo no good at all.

I challenge this group to see the beauty in the very beautiful parts of town. Most people look right past it in the quest to fulfill the stereotype.

fixBuffalo said...


have we met? Anytime you find yourself down this way...let me know, got a few cool mini tours up my sleeve...