Photographer Jason Allies had never participated in an art sale or exhibit before last year’s Danforth East Arts Fair. He gathered his courage, printed umpteen copies of his vivid photographs, rented a tent and hoped for the best.
Within hours, he had sold out of several of his scenes of Toronto, including an iconic photograph of a red streetcar, one of which was purchased by ward 31 Councillor Janet Davis. Now, here’s the good news: he is back at this year’s arts fair, so you will have another chance to buy his work.
Allies, who recently moved to Toronto’s east end from western Alberta, approaches the city with a fresh eye, seeing the Toronto we all take for granted in a refreshing light.
“I tend to focus on the world around me as a subject and the city of Toronto being new to me provides many opportunities,” says the photographer, whose day job is creating graphics for a television channel. “I’ve learned over the years that plenty of patience is required to capture certain subjects. There is nothing like being in the right place at the right time to capture something special that is once in a lifetime.”
In Allies’ photographs, a mess of wires above a busy intersection criscross at perfect angles to play off the gray clouds moving in. Through his lens, the suicide barrier enclosing the Bloor Viaduct becomes an object of beauty, rather than scorn. Another scene captured at just the right vantage point shows the hidden, back-alley houses of Kensington Market that most people miss as they wander by.
Since his debut at East Lynn Park, Allies, 35, has enjoyed a successful career. True Brew Café displayed his photographs for months. Not long after, BlogTO featured his shot of Gerard and Broadview as a photograph of the week. And even now, people are contacting him for prints of that iconic streetcar, which just might become his calling card.
Allies’ photographs, which range in price from small $10 prints to $200 for larger, framed versions, will be for sale at the Danforth East Arts Fair in East Lynn Park on Sept. 18 and 19. For more information, visit www.deca-arts.ca or on facebook.