The original Mamma Yamma and, currently, Jay the blue jay (on Gisele’s Big Backyard), Ali Eisner is much more than just a hand covered in felt. A Gemini Award-winning puppeteer, she is also a musician, composer, writer, and director. Now she's sharing another talent—photography.
Ali's debut photography exhibit, Favourite Things, includes black and white and colour photographs that range from the whimsical to the personal. Viewing the exhibit reminded me of how much of an impact a photograph has when printed and framed, particularly when we are becoming so accustomed to viewing all of our pictures online.
Filled with a supportive crowd for the opening reception, the intimate space was well suited to showcase her work (though I suspect the old and uneven walls, while full of character, made hanging all of those photos at the same level a challenge).
Ali's concert photographs illustrate the intensity and passion of the artists and made me think of the possibility that, even with musicians and singers behind them and a huge crowd in front of them, it might be lonely onstage for a lead performer.
"Help Me," made me laugh out loud.
"Scrambler," made me nostalgic for a time when, as kids, we asked for one more ride at the fair.
"Swingers," made me hope that my children experience that carefree feeling as much as they possibly can.
Hanging above the table in the corner, where coats were being piled, I saw "Zipper" in a cluster of black and white photographs. At first glance, all you see is the flashiness of it, but then you look again and you find the softness. Beautiful.
I listened to conversations between friends and families about how they had never thought about hanging someone else's photograph in their house as art. Now they were debating which photograph to buy and where to put it.
Before the reception, I'd never met Ali, but I quickly realized that her photographs are an extension of her personality. She is warm and inviting and approachable, just like her pictures.
If you’re local, make time to check out Ali’s Favourite Things before the exhibit ends on January 19th, 2014—I promise you won't regret it. If you're not in the Toronto area, make sure that you check out Ali's Flickr stream for inspiration.
You might discover that even superheroes need a little "Patience."
Photo by Ali Eisner.