Review by Mark, Salt Lake City, Utah
After I decided to spend a week in New York City, mainly for photography and particularly for street photography, I realized I needed a guide. While I am familiar with the usual parts of the city, I wanted to visit places I couldn’t know about without having the time, months and years really, to explore the city. I started to search the web starting with New York photography workshops and then New York photography guides. In the process, I discovered I could photograph the city from a helicopter with open windows. That would be a fabulous experience but it was excessively expensive. I must say, though, the video distracted me for more than several minutes. Then, I found Leanne’s website.
While I was looking for someone to steer me around out of the way places, what caught my immediate attention was her photographs. Almost every one of her photographs was one I would have been happy to call my own. Eventually, I started looking at the services she offered, her photo trips and her on line classes. I decided to do both and each was a great experience.
I hoped to primarily work with Leanne on street photography in the weekly 30 minute on line classes. While we did work on that, Salt Lake City doesn’t lend itself well to street photography. It’s here, but it isn’t easy to find. As a typical mall centered city, people aren’t on the streets all that much. But, I did find opportunities and found Leanne’s feedback and comments to be very valuable. Interestingly, her positive responses to another area of work I do proved to be even more valuable. This year I’ve been working on photographing shadow pattern I come across. I’ve rendered them using very high contract and solarization. Leanne reacted very positively and encouraged me to pursue that direction further. Given that my family and friends can be a little puzzled by these images, Leanne’s support was very gratifying. And the outcome of that support was my decision to approach one of Salt Lake’s most established art galleries with a set of six of these photographs. They were accepted for their winter show beginning next week. Three to six of these 12″ by 12″ prints will be hung for the season. I can’t expect that any of them will be purchased. I’m simply enjoying the acknowledgement that there are people in the art community who appreciate my work. I really don’t think this would have happened without Leanne’s encouragement.
After the classes, I went to New York and met Leanne 3 times for 4 hour photowalks. We did one on the Lower East Side and into Chinatown, one in the Williamsburg section to Brooklyn and then the last one in Spanish Harlem after school on Halloween. I am absolutely certain most of the shots to took over the course of those 12 hours would never have been made if I’d been on my own. I might have wandered across some of them, of course. But, it’s a very big city and personal exploration would have been far more random. And, I do know how unlikely it is that I would have gone to Harlem without someone to show me the ropes. Leanne did that and the entire experience was great fun. And, I might add, Leanne is a great companion who brings her own enthusiasm for urban/street photography to each experience as she finds her own photographs.
One of the ideas Leanne suggested was to find an idea or theme or location or background as a way to add a layer of coherency and organization to the chaos of the street. This was a new idea for me and added an additional challenge to the experience but it served to sharpen my focus through to course of the entire week I was in the city, not just when I was with Leanne. The result was the idea of photographing people in repose while coupling it to the action and energy of the city. I have some images I like and they would not have even been considered if not for Leanne’s guidance. I’ll be looking for opportunities to pursue this idea in the future. And, for me, the future holds at least one more possible walk with Leanne. Her photographs of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade captured my immediate attention when I first visited her website. I hope to be there with her in 2015. I know I would have never known this parade even existed if not for her. Thank you, Leanne. I’ll see you there next summer.