Photographer Profile: CHANELLE LESLIE

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Facebook – as much as we all love to hate it, can be pretty inspiring at times. Whilst seeking out different local fashion photographers to possibly feature in part 2 of this series, I didn’t have a specific trait I was looking for… That was until I stumbled across local fashion photographer – Chanelle Leslie, who caught my attention in an instant.

Her facebook photographer profile is jam-packed full of creative, insightful and simply beautiful images, all of which showcase her talent. Chanelle became vaguely interested in photography in 2009, although it wasn’t until late 2011 or 2012, when she felt like she started to get somewhere with photography. Since then, Chanelle now calls her self a photojournalist – and has worked with the likes of newspapers, magazines, Fairfax media, Adelaide fashion festival and the Adelaide Fashion Collective. She has been published in Adelaide’s Attitude magazine, and says she specialises in ‘youthful, organic and expressive images from a photojournalistic perspective’ -Chanelle Leslie.

Ultimately, her humble beginnings in photography were put down to one thing.

“My housemate was a stereotypical Asian tourist who took photos of anything that moved, and even more images of everything that didn’t (that makes it sound like I’m judging her, but I’m not – we all start somewhere, and enthusiasm is more loveable than skill!). One day, she showed me a photo she had taken of some balls of chewing gum or something equally mundane, and teenage me was impressed. I decided to try it myself, and got hooked”.

Personally I think this is a pretty great way to become involved with something like the art of photography, and it gives us a quirky snapshot into what makes her images so fascinating to look at today. As a teenager who picked up a camera and since couldn’t put it down, I asked if she could tell us a story about her favourite fashion photo. She said, “I don’t have a favourite fashion photo. We see dozens of fashion photos every day, and they’re largely unmemorable. I tend to be inspired by photojournalism and let that inform my fashion work”.

What do you try to capture in your photographs?

“As a professionally trained journalist, everything I do is about story telling, and that runs true for my fashion photos. If I don’t tell a story with my images, they don’t have a point. Ideally, my fashion photos tell the story of the clothing and highlight the movement of the fabrics.”

Chanelle goes on to say she simply doesn’t like to ‘capture’ an image, but hopes to highlight the energy, emotion and physical state behind it, in order to make it interesting. She says, “I hope that the photos I take of models highlight more than just the models’ shape and face. That’s boring to me. It’s easy to take a photo of a pretty, young, skinny girl and be applauded, but there’s no merit in that. When I can take a photo of an old, wrinkly, overweight man that’s just as interesting as a photo of a professional model, then I’ve done a good job”.
Do you think the local, photography scene has become more recognised?
“It’s easy to say yes, but at the same time I’m sheltered in the sense that I’m only ever around people who already recognise the importance of arts in the community. Honestly, it would be naive for me to make a judgment on this since I’m only 22 – ask me in a few decades’ time”.
What advice can you give to local, aspiring, fashion photographers?
“Don’t take your inspiration from fashion photos alone. Don’t have a mood board full of other photographers’ images. Widen your perspective and take ideas from the world at large: interesting cultural practices, historical figures, films, sports. Art whose only inspiration is other art is boring and serves no purpose other than to get circle jerked on Tumblr”.
If you want to see some more of Chanelle’s work, you can check out her website here or facebook here!

Media, communications and cultural studies student obsessed with witty writers and tremendous travels.

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