July 18, 2011

Interview: Leonie Wise

She is a photographer who loves to travel the world with a gift for capturing the unique beauty at every stop.  She is my friend and a huge supporter.  I am beyond excited to welcome photographer and writer Leonie Wise to 52 Photos Project!  Please meet:

Can you remember when photography began to play a more important role in your creative life? 
Could you describe that time for me, specifically when you realized that taking photos was no longer just a hobby, but something you felt a deeper passion for?

It wasn't some incredible awakening or moment of clarity. It was kinda like watching the fog slowly roll away from a scene to discover an incredibly beautiful landscape inviting me in to experience, and be a part of, it. I started taking photos when I began travelling for work (about 5 years ago) so I could show my family things I'd seen. Now, it's not just about trying to show people things I'd seen, it's more about communicating how it felt to be somewhere. I don't really remember when it shifted. Just that now, I want to engage viewers, evoke an emotion in them, even if it's not the same one I was feeling when I took the photograph.
I had a comment from a friend about photographs I'd taken in Scotland that made me laugh. She said "oh WOMAN!!!! I am rolling on the beach in your photos . . ..".  Comments like this are exactly what I mean when I say my desire is to evoke an emotion.

Photo by: Leonie Wise

What do you feel most comfortable taking photos of?
Landscapes. Wide open spaces, or some tiny detail from those places.

If you could step outside of your comfort zone for a day, tell me what you would photograph?
An event. Like the DO lectures. Or something that would be published in Lines and Shapes. I admit I'm not that comfortable with photographing people and I'd like to be more comfortable with it.

Photo by: Leonie Wise

Imgaine in your mind's eye the most beautiful picture you haven't yet taken.  What does that photo look like?
It's of the night sky all lit up with the beautiful swirling colours of the northern lights. Something that's been a dream of mine to see since I was 20 years old.

Photo by: Leonie Wise

I know that you love to travel.  What country or place did you most enjoy taking photos and why?
Hmmm, that's a tough one. There's places I would like to go back to because my technique has improved and I'd like to have another go at photographing what I saw and felt.
Iceland is one of those places. It's not that I didn't take any good photographs from there, I just think that now (with all I have learned) I believe that my photographs would be better.I loved exploring the alley ways in Montreal. Loads of interesting back yards to peer into and interesting street art to behold.

Describe for me your process.  Do you carry your camera with you at all times or do you take it with you when the mood calls for it?  Do you have a post editing process to enhance your photos or do you prefer SOOC (straight our of the camera).
I never leave home without at least one camera in my bag, usually 2-3. And I will generally have it slung over my shoulder rather than tucked away if I am specifically going out to take photographs. It's always on, with the lens cap off, set how I want it, so I can grab it quickly if I see something that catches my eye. I've missed a lot of photographs simply by not being ready for them!
That being said, with everything I learn, I am slowing down. Taking photos deliberately... considering what it is I want to express. So I am taking less photos, but generally ending up with more photographs I am happy with.

If I'm having an off day, I don't try to force it... I have learned to just put the camera away and try again tomorrow.

I do very little post processing unless something is really off. I only shoot in RAW so if I do need to edit, I've got a great place to start.
Lightroom and Photoshop are my tools of choice and, if I'm stuck, The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers and Vision and Voice: Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom are always nearby.
My favourite app for processing on my phone is definitely CameraBag. I've tried a few others and keep coming back to this one. They've just done a Desktop version too, which I use if I want to play around.

Photo by: Leonie Wise

Can you share any names or links to photographers you admire or to some of your favorite photos?

As well as the greats like Sally Mann, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange and Annie Liebowitz...
  1. I am totally in love with the beautiful simplicity of the work from Stephanie and Mav and that of Melbourne photographer Olga Bennett
  2. Brian Ferry's photos have a quality that draws me in, though I can't really explain what it is
  3. It seems like I've not stayed in one place long enough to devote myself to an ongoing project, so I really admire anyone who can return to the same place over and over again, capturing the changes that happen over time. The My friend, the dead tree set on flickr by Kevin Day is exquisite, as is the book Still: Oceanscapes by Debra Bloomfield
  4. My friends Pen and Cam (McKinley-Rodgers photography) take the most amazing photos of couples (including themselves) I've ever seen.
  5. Andrea JenkinsKristen Perman and Susannah Conway have polaroid skills I can only dream about
  6. I'm so happy that Elizabeth MacCrellish has picked up a camera. And love it when Jeanine Caron shows the world what she's been up to.
There's so many other photographers whose work I admire, but I'm going to stop now, or we'll be here for days...

Leonie, I can't thank you enough for taking the time to share these pieces of your journey - and I look forward to seeing where your travels take you!

Leonie Wise is a poet, photographer, adventurer and life enthusiast. She never leaves home without at least one camera in her bag (usually two) and is learning that her best discoveries are generally found on the way to somewhere else. She is unable to laugh quietly and is more interested in finding out what people are passionate about than what they do for a job. Adventure might has well have been her middle name, but Faith (her real middle name) is proving to be just as appropriate. As well as writing stuff on her own blog, she is a regular contributor to Gypsy Girls Guide and is delighted to be invited, on occasion, to play over at the Exquisite Corpse Collective.
Cameras: Canon 5D Mk II, Canon g9, Canon 700, iPhone, Polaroid Spectra, Polaroid Sun 600, Polaroid One Step 1000, Kodak Brownie.

You can connect with Leonie via her Blog | Flickr | Facebook | Twitter | Poetry Book | Gypsy Girls Guide | Exquisite Corpse


IamthatIam publishing... said...

this is amazing, inspiring and so full of upliftment - thank you both for posting this. I just spent so much time clicking, reading, looking "ooohhhing and Ahhhing"!!!

Simon said...

Love this interview, thank you for sharing. I'm wondering what kind of work she does that allows her to travel. I'm truly looking for a new career that will allow travel and photo ops along the way.

faerian said...

THAT Leonie is a delicious woman and amazing capturer of magic

Karen D said...

what a wonderful interview, loved learning more about leonie.

pen said...

YOU are so amazing and inspiring.

Anonymous said...

love your interview and Leonie is a beautiful soul, thank you :)

Elizabeth MacCrellish said...

"I've missed a lot of photographs simply by not being ready for them!"

Isn't that the truth! Thank you Bella for putting the spotlight on one of my mos favorite photographers (and people)!

xxoxo, E