PNB spoke with photographer Jared Leeds about his career and his recent work with Artists for Humanity.
Tell us about what you are doing with Artists for Humanity?
I’m putting together a workshop for the students and we’re focusing on the perspective of photographing your own world and backyard; the idea being you don’t know have to be a world traveler because there are interesting stories to tell right outside your door.
We will have a variety of subjects for the students to photograph, including a musician and yoga instructor. We wanted this to be a chance for the students to explore different personalities and have a range of activities to shoot.
What do you hope the kids will take away from their experience?
I think when I first started taking pictures it gave me confidence to speak and engage with people I didn’t know. Having a camera can help foster conversation and can give the photographer the impetus to get out and explore their world.
How do you think this experience may impact you?
Because I have taught before, I know that you always learn something new about your art. When we as artists age, we get rules placed on us and we forget to break the rules. When you are young, you don’t know those rules, so it’s great to be reminded about that.
Tell us a bit about your career. When did you first start shooting? What does your photo life look like now?
The seed was planted to be a photographer when I was young. It was in college when I started thinking this could become a career. I shot for the BU newspaper and loved it. After college I had internships, worked as a photo assistant and as a photojournalist for a newspaper. After about a year I decided I wanted to be my own boss so I decided to become a fulltime freelancer. When I started, I didn’t know anything about running my own business. I just started to shoot and assist when I could to learn the business. I’ve been a freelancer for 13 years.
Now I do a mix of editorial, personal, advertising and commercial work. Generally, with editorial work you have more freedom to shoot how you want and I find the subjects are often very interesting. My personal work is always close to my heart because that is the stuff I choose to shoot on my own. With corporate and advertising work I appreciate the fact that I get to meet new people every day. It’s also fulfilling to solve new problems. I feel very lucky to be a photographer!
Who is a photographer that really made an impression?
Eugene Richards is a photographer originally from Dorchester who made a big impression on me. His work is unreal and the access he gets to his subject is unbelievable. I have learned a lot from looking at his work and from a taking a workshop with him. He is so genuine and is able to foster intense connections with his subjects. In order to get such intimate access, they must feel a level of comfort with him. That is one of the biggest things I’ve learned about great photography— it’s ultimately about developing and fostering relationships.
Visit Jared's website here.
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