Top comedians feature in Sunderland exhibition

Donna-Lisa Healy and her photography exhibits.
Donna-Lisa Healy and her photography exhibits.
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PHOTOGRAPHER Donna-Lisa Healy is unmasking some of the UK’s biggest comedians.

The student has photographed some of the most successful stand-up comedians around, including Jack Dee, John Bishop and Rich Hall as part of a new University of Sunderland exhibition now on display.

Donna-Lisa, a mum of two, enrolled on a Masters degree course in photography and has been showcasing her images in the Priestman Building on the City Campus.

The collection of photographs were taken this year and formed part of Donna-Lisa’s role as photographer-in-residence at the Durham Gala Theatre and hopes her images will form part of a larger series that will be taken at the theatre next year.

While taking photos in Newcastle, Donna-Lisa spoke to a number of comedians as well as the broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, whose wife committed suicide, about how depression has affected them and how they transformed themselves when performing on stage. This was the inspiration for her latest set of photos.

Donna-Lisa, who lives in Chester-le-Street, said: “When you see a comedian or entertainer on stage or on TV you only see one side of them. I wanted to show the real person. I didn’t give any of the people in the photographs any directions or instructions, I just photographed them posing as they would naturally.

“Plenty of comedians suffer away from the stage and are sometimes scared to admit it, or the public just don’t realise.

“Enormous pressure can be put on comedians because they are expected to be happy and funny all of the time. That is impossible for anyone, never mind the funniest stand-up comedians.”

Donna-Lisa, 38, is continuing as photographer-in-residence at the Durham Gala Theatre into next year.

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