My childhood was spent traveling the Western United States and exploring some of the most beautiful places on earth. My father worked in National Parks, so I grew up in places like Yellowstone, Glacier, and Mount Rainier. I spent my time romping in the woods with a disposable camera taking pictures of all the flora and fauna; imagining I was a little naturalist. I grew up, went to college, lived in the city… and I felt that something was missing. I missed my wilderness. I started taking trips out to the wild places around the city and brought my camera along. So my art career all started as a way for me to reconnect with my roots.
Honestly, I am still learning things about my camera. I toted around a disposable camera until I was twenty. I think that what makes a photographer successful is not having the best gear or knowing every technical aspect (though it does help!), but understanding what makes a good picture. An eye for composition is so important. Learning how to frame your subject, the landscape, or whatever you are shooting is key. Take pictures every day, and learn. In the words of Muriel Rukeyser, ‘Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry’.
Photography is magic. You are capturing a moment in time, a place, a feeling that will never be exactly the same again. I’ve been taking all of these little moments home with me for years, printing them out, and covering my walls with them. One day I was reading Walt Whitman‘s Leaves of Grass and read the passage, ‘Now I see the secret of making the best persons: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.’ The words resonated with me and reminded me of a photo I had taken while hanging out the car window on a drive to a camping spot in Oregon. I layered the quote over the photo, and fell in love. Prior to this moment I had never had a calling.
You know, some kids say they want to be a doctor when they’re like five years old, and then they grow up to be a doctor? Well, I wanted to be a palaeontologist, writer, surgeon, rock star, animal trainer, fashion designer, and everything in-between. I changed my college major six times while I was at school. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I knew.
Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Leah Flores is an artist that combines photography and illustration. She’s also a member of Ohh Deer and we stock a whole bunch of products featuring her work including cushions, tees and vests. You can see more of her art on her website www.leahfloresdesigns.com.