Colour must be the story of India. I wanted to see more. I wanted to be overpowered by it as you are when you go to India. The taste of it was yummy, a glow in the light, exotic fabrics edged in gold, the haze of dust, the flamboyant twists and turns of architecture, crumbling…The opening night to Ella Haller Zwierzchowska’s exhibition of photography, ‘India, The Extraordinary Everyday’ at La Rondine Gallery, was a beautiful celebration on a fine early summer’s evening. People came and went all night, really looking at and enjoying the work and sampling the tastes of Indian cuisine and chai; wine secondary to the pallet that night.
We have been watching Ella’s work over the past couple of years as she is a prolific photographer with a very good eye and she keeps her friends informed of her work on Facebook. Although she is only twenty one, she has been doing photography with a passion since she was ten when she inherited her first camera from her grandfather. The hours are certainly growing in her work and there is a suggestion now that she will take a decisive direction. Around the walls there are little stories connected to the photographs she took and for many people, they are brought in close to the experience of subjectivity with her work. For Michael and I, being visual artists, the impact for us is in the visuals not the story. I found that what interested me was her quirkiness, her ability to create an abstraction or ambiguity from a fleeting moment, like in the image, unnamed, of the taxi driver in his open cab glancing sideways at her taking the shot, while the cartoon poster in the passing background reflects the driver’s glance and abstracts the whole image with its play on the real and the comic. She has a camera constantly in her hand so it seems that these brilliant moments are caught by her prolificity and accustomed eye. The primary colours of the identical taxis, yellow, red, yellow, blue, on the road before her on one of the shots; in another, the horses in the background drawing an unseen cart that look like they are pulling a little motor driven taxi, that is actually in front of her vision. Then there is a lovely found moment in the four taxi drivers in red, sitting in front of four green doors elegantly sipping their chai, a vivid capture of contrasts. Her two portraits of brides were gorgeous. The portrait was in the beauty and glow of the colourful silk costumes and the henna tattoos on the gently clasped hands reflecting the magic of the moment and the importance of the event. And the Taj Mahal, unseen, sheathed in mist as luminous as the Taj Mahal itself.
I sense in Ella’s photography, delight in the capture of the moment. Her photographs are of exquisite magical and ambiguous moments rarely captured and remembered in life and her dedication to materializing them through her work seems to be where her artistry lies.
We are so glad Ella took the opportunity to show her work at La Rondine Gallery. We love seeing young artists take the leap of commitment and faith to their art and Ella has taken it with arms out wide.