Leslie Schoen's photography captures poetic beauty in the simplest moment, gesture and mood.Even the ruffles on a girls swimsuit is something Leslie can zero in on and bathing it in the light she has mastered, elevates it to art.
Stella Cove : Which photos / photographers have made the greatest impact on you?
Leslie:Two artists come to mind when I think about what has inspired me in my work as a photographer. I took an online course from Meg Loeks and learned to see light all around me in new ways. I also took an online course from Kirsten Lewis and learned more about photographing authentic moments. I learned how to envision a scene, get set up, and patiently wait for a magical moment to happen.
Stella Cove : Do you listen to music when you're working, if yes, what kind?
Leslie : Yes, I often listen to music when I edit. I am most often listening to Spotify on my computer and usually some acoustic/folk channel.
Do you know what a finished piece of work looks like or does it develop as you work?
Most often in my personal work I am drawn by something to grab my camera. Usually it is pretty lighting, or something my girls are doing that is new, or adorable, or in a scenic location, or a moment I want to remember. Or I haven't taken a picture for myself in a little while. So, I will have a general idea, but that is often the extent and the rest develops as I go. Sometimes I know when photographing what really speaks to me, and sometimes I see it when I start looking over and editing the images.
What's the best part of the process? What's the most challenging part?
The best part of the process for me ... that's a tough one. I enjoy all parts. I enjoy photographing, being in the moment and following what inspires me. I also enjoy editing very much, seeing it all come together and finding hidden gems among my raw files. Also sharing the images is a wonderful part of the process. Seeing people relate to something that you feel.
The most challenging part of the process for me is probably when I start to feel in a creative rut. Or when I feel lacking in inspiration.
One of the many things we appreciate about your photos is that your subject seems to have the courage, when in your shoot, to let a emanate a more personal part of themselves. The photo looks very honest. How do you manage to make this happen?
Making honest photography is something I feel passionate about and something I continued to pursue in my work. I think photographing people is a very intimate experience, asking people to share with you something real about themselves. My first career as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist has many parallels to this aspect of photographing people, and I think I utilize many of these skills to help people feel at ease sharing intimate things. In both fields, I believe how you think about the people in front of you has a great impact on the work you do together. Seeing the beauty in others I believe translates through the lens, and people can feel that.
If you could photograph anyone in the world who would it be, also how would you style them?
I don't really have an ideal person I would like to photograph, or way to style them. One shoot on my wish list has long been a 'Day in the Life' photo session. In such sessions, I would spend an entire day with a family, getting to know them and photographing everyday moments in an artful way.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to relax. To take more deep breaths. I would tell my younger self to look for my own beauty within, and not wait for others to define it or celebrate it for me.
What do you think is the role of photography today?
I haven't thought much about the role of photography, to be honest. I understand it as an art form that has the ability to share an experience, or evoke emotion. Photographs capture a moment to be more clearly revised long after the moment has passed. As in other art forms, I think photography can be a release, a creative outlet, and an avenue for personal growth and development.
What hopes do you have for your works the moment you release them into the world? How do you wish for them to affect people?
Much of my personal work has more to do with me than what I hope from others. I like to share what inspires me as a way to continue working on my voice and growing in that area. So in this regard, my hope is that I understand my creative style better. And also, more personally, that I understand more about how I see the world around me, what I think and what I feel about it.
I hope that my work is relatable. That people feel something when viewing my images. I hope to inspire others to think about something in a new way, to recognize the beauty in the everyday, or be carried away in an emotion for a moment.
What advice do you have for any new photographers?
My advice for young photographers or those just starting out in the field is to understand what you feel most strongly or passionate about and pursue that in your work.
Such an amazing series of photos from Leslie! She makes her photos look vibrant with life. She has captured our girls swimwear in such a way that it is a fresh new perspective to our community! This interview was extremely insightful as we get into the mind of an AMAZING photographer. Our beautiful girls swimwear and her vision made the images absolutely stunning! We appreciate the opportunity to work with someone like Leslie! She has plenty more photos to appreciate on her facebook, https://www.facebook.com/