First Friday exhibition shows the intimate nature of analogue photos | State of Art

A woman with glasses smiles in front of a wall mural.
Artist Brianna Toomer poses at Akela Space in downtown Anchorage ahead of her fist solo exhibition. (Ammon Swenson/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage-born Fashion designer and artist Brianna Toomer loved to flip through her mom’s photo albums and her grandma’s old box of Polaroid pictures. Not only seeing, but touching and smelling the physical objects from days gone by is something that we’re losing in the world of social media, she says. Her first solo exhibition “Memories Entre Then and Now” is an attempt to not only showcase her art, but to give viewers that same type of full sensory experience of looking at physical photos.

The images are a collection of shots taken between the time she left Anchorage for San Francisco through her life in Paris where she works as a tailor. While her work is at times dark and abstract, her show allows people to sit on a couch and thumb through a photo album of her pieces or dig through a shoebox of Polaroids. Her show opens for First Friday on May 3 at Akela Space and will be on view for the rest of the Month.

On this episode of State of Art Toomer tells us about what it’s like behind the scenes at a Paris fashion show, how she had to make the choice between the arts and sports, why she shoots film and more.

Brianna Toomer Instagram
Brianna Toomer website
Akela Space Instagram
Akela Space website


Ammon Swenson is Alaska Public Media’s Audio Media Content Producer. He was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He graduated from UAA in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and integrated media. He’s previously worked for KRUA radio, the Anchorage Press, and The Northern Light.

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