Interview #366: Leanne Surfleet
Lee Chang Ming: Introduce yourself…
Leanne Surfleet: I’ve just finished up studying for a degree in Photography which gave me a lot of freedom to experiment and find my own specific style of photography. For the past few years I’ve focused a lot on self-portraiture, this started out of boredom and grew into a large body of work that is ongoing, although I’m now slowly moving my work in a different direction, and hoping to start looking more outward. Other than photography I love cats, sweets, adventuring and interneting.
I often think that creating things makes the artist or photographer vulnerable in the sense that it makes the individual open to criticism and scrutiny. Taking self-portraits exposes a private side of yourself: What do you hope to show with your pictures?
In the beginning I used myself simply as a model, wanting something living in my photographs, something to convey emotion and life. It turned a lot more personal within the last 1-2 years as I struggled quite heavily with anxiety. Therefore different things were being translated through my photographs, they somehow had a deeper meaning. With the self-portraits I hope to show what it’s like to be me.
Photography can be a way to explore yourself, however, do you think being overly self-aware can be unhealthy?
I think it probably could be unhealthy if you took it to a certain extent, or if you used it in a in-sincere and narcissistic way. But I think being self-aware is so important. I never used to believe that I could learn new things about myself simply by looking and photographing, but I genuinely have.
What draws you to analog photography?
The whole process, the film itself, the cameras, the colours and imperfections, the not knowing what the photo is going to turn out like. If you didnt get the shot you wanted then it wasnt meant to be, but if you do get it, its so rewarding. I can’t think of another feeling as great as that.
Zenit E, Polaroid Spectra, Polaroid SX-70 Sonar, Pentacon Six are my favourites at the minute.
Upcoming projects or ideas?
I’m going to begin a few collaborations in the coming weeks with some other wonderful photographers, and I’m hoping to get outside and shoot more. I feel something has changed in me in the last few months so I’m looking for new directions and inspirations.
Any music to recommend?
Lately all I’ve really listened to is Grimes - ‘Visions’, and Hospital Ships - ‘Destruction in Yr Soul’.