Leanne Surfleet is a UK based analog photographer. Leanne shoots a lot of self portraits along with lots of other things and loves polaroids. She is part of the female art collective World Wide Women.
You are mostly a self-photographer. How did this come about?
After I left college I spent a lot of time alone, not knowing what to do next, all I knew was that I wanted to take photographs constantly, and shooting landscapes and still life had gotten so boring for me so I decided to step in front of the camera and experiment with self-portraiture. Its pretty much took off from there and I started to realize the need to document myself.
What s the best and the worst about shooting yourself?
The best is that its so personal and can be quite therapeutic for me, seeing myself grow or change and looking back and remembering things I was going through at the time of the photograph. The worst thing is maybe that it can be a slow process, and sometimes hard to picture what the shot is going to be like with me in it – which can often end up with the photograph being no good.
Has this self portraiture made you realize things about you? Or see yourself differently?
It makes you realize random things like your appearance, looking at a photo and thinking ‘do I really look like that?!’ haha but then coming to terms with it and being confident in yourself. It’s made me realize that its something that I will always do, and before photography I never really had an outlet to express myself with, but photography is the perfect way for me to do that.
What about other girls? How different is it shooting them?
It’s not all that much different to be honest, apart from the pace of the shoot. When I have girls in front of my camera who inspire me I shoot through film so quickly which is exciting. But as for the aesthetic and meaning, its very similar to my self-portraiture. I’m showing the viewer how I see this person and what they mean to me.
Why have you chosen to shoot film?
I chose to shoot film very early on and have hardly shot anything digitally (apart from candid phone shots). It’s just something that felt very natural to me, like this is what I’m supposed to use, it just feels right for me, more genuine.
How important are social media to a photographer today?
I think social media can be very important if that’s the road you want to take with your photography, if you want to be seen and known and share your work with the public it has to be one of the easiest ways to do so. I’ve seen people build careers out of their online presence which is pretty amazing, but I do also think it can be not so good for photographers. I think sometimes people get obsessed with ‘likes’ and end up catering their photography for the likes instead of sharing their better / more personal work, which is quite sad but each to their own.
Interview by Amanda Akiyama