This post is part of the “Broad Strokes” series, highlighting the work of female photographers and Leica. This exhibition will take place at the Leica Gallery in Los Angeles, from April 2nd until May 2nd as the Official Exhibition of Month of Photography Los Angeles. It includes works from Tanya Alexis, Lesa Amoore, Cira Crowell, Sandra de Keller, Lisa Leone, Eva Napp and Tasya van Ree. We gathered with Lisa and discussed her involvement with Broad Strokes, her images and her long-time career photographing famous celebrities and artists.
How did you become involved in the Broad Strokes exhibition and share a bit about the scope of work you are showing?
Cat Jimenez asked me if I’d like to participate. I’ve had this work put away for nearly 20 years. When I first started scanning the images it brought back such a flurry of memories. I felt such gratitude to be a part of such a special time in history… The beginnings of a cultural movement. Back then you didn’t know if it would go beyond the 5 boroughs, but 20 years later we witness a global phenomenon.
As a New Yorker, you experienced one of the most emblematic New York music scenes ever to rise – Hip Hop. How was this experience of documenting up and coming artists in an environment which many considered hostile in that time?
It didn’t feel hostile to me, it felt like a creative community sharing a mutual expression. Of course, there were moments, as in all situations, that weren’t the greatest…but over all, it was an incredible time.
You worked with Stanley Kubrick, a die-hard fan of Leica and superb photographer, aside of being a great film maker. Can you share your experience working with him and how this influencer your art (both photography and cinema)?
One of the first questions Stanley asked me (over the phone) was what camera I used. After I told him a Leica M6 and M4P, I could feel him relax a bit. I learned so much from him, but specifically about composition and lighting. We would stay on set until 2:00 A.M. just testing lighting. The next day we’d look at the film and determine what needed to be changed… It was an incredible education.
You have used analog cameras for the most part of your career, how do you see the evolution of Leica in the digital and analog realm?
Even when shooting with another camera digitally I’m using my Leica lenses with an adaptor. I haven’t had the opportunity to use the digital Leica cameras, but I’d like to. A friend in London is testing the soon to be out Leica camera phones…I’d like to get my hands on that!
Lastly, what other projects are you working on and is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about?
I’m working on a new photography series, exploring the essence of women. They’re not your typical “beauty” portraits…I’m interested in capturing the raw essence/feelings of a woman. We’re complex beings…there’s not just one side of the story!
Thank you Lisa!
About Lisa Leone:
Bronx-born Lisa Leone infuses her frames with sound and motion, pointing to what would become her multi-faceted way of seeing through both photography and cinema. Still an active photographer and filmmaker, Leone is also Vice President of Artistic Programs at the National YoungArts Foundation, where she has brought thousands of high school students into contact with mentors such as Placido Domingo, Bruce Davidson, and Marina Abramovic.
To know more about Lisa’s work, please visit her official website.