Summer was born in Markham, Ontario. She’s been playing with cameras since she was four however she discovered her true love of photography in the darkroom of Markham High, where she immersed herself in many photo related activities. She has always been surrounded by musicians and actively photographed local bands who helped her realize she should just keep doing what she loves.
Four years later, after a brief addiction to the sport of rowing, Summer graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ryerson University. She currently lives (and shoots) in Toronto where she has been focusing on the history of the city in her series The Past is Never Far. Since its creation the series has been exhibited at the historic Todmorden Mills and the Parliament Interpretive Centre with the support of Toronto Historic Sites and the Ontario Heritage Trust.
2015: The Past is Never Far, Casa Loma, Toronto
2015: The Past is Never Far, Papermill Gallery, Toronto
2015: Toronto: Past, Present, Future, Steam Whistle, Toronto
2014: The Past is Never Far, Parliament Interpretive Centre, Toronto
2014: The Past is Never Far, Papermill Gallery, Toronto
2013: MaxEx, The Burroughs, Toronto
2012: Temporal Forms, I.M.A. Gallery, Toronto
2011: Puncture, Ryerson Gallery, Toronto
What others say about Summer’s work
“This is city building at its most meaningful. [Her] images invite recognition and contemplation, teach the next generation, inspire creative initiative, and engage us in conversations that build community.”
“Summer Leigh’s exploration of landscape change in Toronto is both novel and engaging. Historical geographers often view landscape as a palimpsest – as layers of form and activity which are partially or wholly erased over time. Leigh mines Toronto’s artistic history and marries it with her own contemporary photography to literally superimpose past and present at specific sites. She reminds us that urban places are inherently dynamic; her non-judgmental eye allows us to see environmental change free of nostalgia.”