LET ME TAKE YOU THERE: THE PHOTOGRAPHS of CINDI EMOND By Betty Ann Jordan, February 2018
Photographer and traveller Cindi Emond is also a sommelier, runner, scuba diver and skier. A Canadian ex-patriate based in Rome, she shoots extensively in Italy but also travels frequently in Europe and beyond. Ever on the lookout for unconventional subjects, Emond says, “I invite the viewer to see the unusual through my eyes.”
Aiming for unique stories and experiences, she photographs urban streetscapes and architectural studies in which buildings loom against the sky and centuries-old byways are traversed by 21 st century flaneurs. Through her lens, Emond is creating work that embodies visual story telling, reframing the unexpected.
Her BFAH training in photography and graphic art is evident in her striking compositions and fresh perspectives. Among her photographic influences are the street photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, and Vivian Maier and the work of Geoffrey James, photography laureate of her native city of Toronto.
Relishing the sweep of nature, Emond’s landscape photographs convey what it’s like to coexist with splendour. The image of hikers, gingerly making their way down a razor’s-edge path incised on the vertical face of a mountain, seems to urge, “Be careful but, quick, look at this!”
“On an emotional level,” says Emond, “I want to touch some internal chord in the viewer, to make you think, ‘I wish I was there….’” This she does with wit and humour. While living in Amsterdam, she captured a street art reproduction of Old Master Frans Hals’ painting, “Portrait of a Couple”. Oblivious to golden age of Dutch art, a bicycle rests unconcernedly against it on the garbage strewn sidewalk, definitely grounding it in our century.
The photographer is also attracted to scenes with metaphoric possibilities. Consider her picture taken inside a 17 th -century chamber in Amsterdam. Key here is her sensitivity to the ambiance created by waning natural light reflected through the window off a canal. As your eyes strain momentarily to adjust to the dimness of the interior, you gradually perceive a Christmas Nativity scene, silhouetted on a table. All the figurines, from Madonna to magi, are in shadow, except for the baby Jesus who is uncannily illumined by the last refracted rays of a setting sun.
Especially striking is Emond’s photograph of wasps zeroing in on a heap of sumptuous candied orange slices. An invitation to expand your sensory range to imaginatively feel, smell, taste and hear an exquisite moment, it is both appealing and repellent.
Paens to experience, these and other of Cindi Emond’s photographs irresistibly draw you in and onward. Their siren call? “Let me take you there.”
Betty Ann Jordan is a Toronto art writer and founder of Art InSite tours.