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Thursday May 3rd 2018 to Sunday June 3rd 2018

The Trees Amongst Us


Inspired by LEAF’s (Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests) Adopt-a-Street-Tree project* in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto, “The Trees Amongst Us” is a series of photographs, printed on acetate and mounted on metal leaf, depicting the street trees throughout the seasons. Through the Adopt-a-Street-Tree project, LEAF and the City of Toronto work with various businesses, organizations and individuals in the Junction (and other neighbourhoods) to ensure the health and vibrancy of street trees. As a Junction resident and artist whose work focuses on trees, Nicola was impressed with the project’s approach to tree stewardship and decided to document the street trees in a new series of photographs.

As Nicola photographed and became more aware of the trees she decided that each tree whether a Pioneer Elm, a Basswood, or Honey Locust, whether native or introduced, is worthy of its own portrait. To highlight individual trees and the challenging conditions they face, Nicola transposes the trees from their concrete encasements to an environment of embellished, radiant, metal leaf. The gold, silver and copper metallic backgrounds shimmer and change according to the light conditions. The shimmering quality to the images creates a visual reference to early photographic processes such as daguerroetypes and tintypes. Nicola also references the practice of hand colouring photographs by rendering the trees in colour and the surrounding streetscapes in black and white.

With “The Trees Amongst Us”, Nicola hopes to heighten an awareness of the benefits that street trees provide and encourage support of and participation in LEAF’s Adopt-a-Street-Tree project.

“The Trees Amongst Us” is in the Open Exhibition program of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the largest photography event in the world, and a premiere cultural experience in Canada, with over 200 exhibitions and happenings throughout the month of May in the Greater Toronto Area.


Nicola Woods is a visual artist with a particular love and fascination for trees. She creates luminous photographs to advocate for the welfare of wild and urban trees. Five years ago she began photographing trees, a project which culminated in a solo show “Arbor Vitae (Tree of Life)” at the Earl Selkirk Gallery. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Canada and the USA, including a group show, in 2017, “150 years of Light in Canada” at Propeller Gallery, Toronto. Awards include a grant from the Vermont Studio Centre and 3rd prize in “Photo Op”, The 5th Annual Juried Photography Exhibition at the John B. Aird Gallery.

Nicola’s photographs of urban trees stem from her experiences exploring the Junction neighbourhood in Toronto with her dog. As they walked along the streets together she became more conscious of her surroundings, and in particular, she noticed the quiet beauty of the trees. Nicola found herself marvelling at how the trees transformed the urban landscape and she felt compelled to photograph them so she could share their beauty with others. Over time her sense of connection to the street trees deepened. They struck her as symbols of perseverance – despite being fenced in, their roots competing with fire hydrants and concrete pavements they continue to provide a haven for mammals, birds and insects.

*Acknowledgements/ Credits:

The Junction Adopt-a-Street-Tree project is organized and supported by a team of local volunteers, LEAF, City of Toronto, Green 13,  Junction BIA , Junction Residents’ Association and the Toronto Field Naturalists.

Exhibition runs May 3 – 27, 2018
For more information;

Earl Selkirk Gallery Hours
Monday – Friday 11-6pm
Saturday 11-5pm
Sunday 12-5pm

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