Downtown Disquiet, is a photographic series that conveys the uncomfortable feeling I have when traversing the city alone. Over the years, I’ve found that it has become increasingly more dangerous in downtown Toronto, as there has been a noticeable rise in crimes involving violence, while oftentimes these incidents occur unprovoked. Due to this, my perspective of the city has changed, as I am constantly on my guard, making sure I am aware of my surroundings at all times when I am alone in the city. 

This series consists of desolate scenes and liminal spaces, a majority of which are taken at night, that create a sense of discomfort upon viewing. There are overwhelming, low shutter speed crowd shots, as well as hard lines, almost like bars, that suggest feelings of restriction. Additionally, there are images that exhibit a single individual as a mysterious figure, that causes the viewer to question who the individual is and their intentions. 

This project is meant to capture the mysterious and discomforting aspects of the city, as well as provoke uneasy feelings amongst viewers. Additionally it offers a different perspective of downtown Toronto as a whole, and provides insight into my changed outlook on the city and how it has become a place of discomfort.

Olivia Salerno


Olivia Salerno is a lens based photographer whose work predominantly focuses on black and white street photography. She enjoys capturing urban life and the ever changing atmosphere of the city through the depictions of people, architecture and her distinct use of composition. Her work mainly consists of high contrast images to emphasize the use of light and shadow, while also creating a more striking look to her work.