EAC Friday Feature: Leslie Lawrence

Friday Mar 3rd, 2023

Interview 10 questions 7

10 Questions with Leslie Lawrence

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Leslie Lawrence

-written by Nat Richmond

When were you introduced to the Art of photography?

Around the age of five, I was first exposed to the world of photography. My maternal grandmother, who was both a teacher and a painter, introduced me to painting during one of the summers we spent together. This newfound creative outlet inspired me to explore photography, which allowed me to capture moments and turn them into works of art. Looking back, I realize that this experience was particularly interesting because it taught me that memories may fade, but the photos and paintings we create will always be there to tell a story.

Name a photographer who has inspired you the most?

Before meeting my now-husband @thebrand.photo, I wasn't particularly inspired by any specific photographer. However, he stood out as the go-to photographer in our college group, and we often sought his skills to create birthday picture collages. His unique perspective and ability to see the world through a different lens sparked a new found inspiration in me to delve deeper into photography and broaden my visual horizons.

What's one word you would use to describe your photography?

If I were to describe my photography in one word, it would be "multicultural." Similar to my own background and experiences, my photography reflects my personal history, my unique story, and my perspective on life. Having grown up on a different continent Africa, I moved to the United States and found beauty in even the most seemingly ordinary things that may be taken for granted by locals.

How do you inspire your creativity to try new things?

My way of unleashing creativity involves music and traveling. By discovering new music genres and incorporating them into my travels, the possibilities for creativity are endless.

Can you name one song that encapsulates the energy of your shots?

My choice of music tends to change with the seasons, and even from month to month. Recently, I've been listening to "Come Home" by Nailah Blackman and Skinny Fabulous on repeat for the past few weeks. Although it has a carnival sound, the tempo and rhythm of the song transport me to a vibrant world of colors and springtime energy. It's an incredibly energetic and uplifting song.

How do you overcome creative fears or doubts?

I've learned to be brave by telling myself that I am brave, and then actively demonstrating courage. In the past, I was often paralyzed by fear and self-doubt, earning me the nickname "a deer in headlights" or "Zebra." However, by relying on my faith in God and the love and support of my friends and family, I've discovered the importance of persevering even when faced with uncertainty. I've realized that everything has a way of working out as long as I keep moving forward. Additionally, with three younger sisters looking up to me, I'm motivated to set an example for them that emphasizes the importance of resilience in the face of failure.

How would you like to evolve over the coming years?

My desire is to provide a platform or space for others to express themselves and explore their creativity. I have diverse interests beyond being a photographer, including running a travel blog, @thetravelingimmigrant, where I assist international students in navigating the transition from Africa to the USA. In addition, I own a jewelry business under the handle @lesliescreations.store, which specializes in hand-crafting high-quality yet affordable jewelry. Ultimately, I aspire for my ventures to inspire others to pursue their passions.

How would you like to see your artistic contributions impact Erie?

Erie is home to many talented artists and creatives who lack the resources or support to pursue their passions. I would love to contribute by creating a platform or space, as well as offering moral support to assist new artists in getting started. Achieving something impressive despite challenging circumstances is truly remarkable. While perfection is not necessary, it takes great courage to chase one's dreams, even if they may seem implausible to others.

Any advice for upcoming photographers?

Although perfection is not a requirement, pursuing one's dreams takes immense bravery, even if others consider them unlikely. It's important to take that first step and have faith in yourself. You wouldn't want to wake up one day and regret not saying "yes" to your dreams.

Erie Arts & Culture

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