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How Leslie Andrews found her purpose through photography

Photographer Leslie Andrews (Photo courtesy of Leslie Andrews Photography)

Artistry and creativity are in the eye of the beholder. Through the Creative Lens series, rolling out seeks to discover more about professional and up-and-coming photographers and their creative visions. This is Leslie Andrews’ story.

Fashion and beauty photographer Leslie Andrews is originally from Milwaukee but is currently based in Atlanta.

“I was at a point in my life where I was in desperate need of a creative outlet. I was working in the corporate world and very bored, lacking purpose,” she said about why she decided to take a class in black-and-white photography at a local art college. Andrews was thrust into pursuing her newfound career after being laid off. Since 2006, Andrews has been shooting fashion, editorial, and commercial photography.

(Photo Courtesy Leslie Andrews Photography)

Was there a specific moment when you realized photography meant more to you than just taking pictures?

I’ve always had a deep appreciation for photography. Surprisingly enough, growing up without many photos, I longed for a connection with my family history. I felt an emptiness without knowing or having a reference. The few photos I did have access to, I studied in great detail, creating the story behind that moment. When reflecting back, this really was the time I unconsciously realized photos meant so much more to me than just being a picture. As an adult, I bought my first camera and was consistently documenting life as I saw it. To me, pictures signify stories, with each photo I take I aim to tell a story.

(Photo courtesy of Leslie Andrews Photography)

Have you ever been discouraged?

Yes, I have definitely had many points in my life where I have been discouraged, and in the words of Gordon Parks, “No doubt it was wisdom that taught me that my most dangerous enemy could be myself.” In my work, being discouraged has affected me by leaving me without vision, void and creatively blocked. Yet on the comeback, it’s also always given me more depth in my work.

(Photo courtesy of Leslie Andrews Photography)

What is one passion project that you are hoping to pursue in the future?

I am currently working on a personal project that will feature musicians of color. Each year, I pursue a passion project. I chose to document musicians this year because I played viola growing up and have always had an appreciation for classical music. I will be working with Orchestra Noir as well as a few other independent professional musicians.

(Photo courtesy of Leslie Andrews Photography)

What advice would you have for aspiring photographers?

My advice to aspiring photographers is to find your niche. There are so many photographers today, and if you find your own unique style, it will set you apart from the rest.

One thing cool about you: I have a natural ability to read people.
Favorite restaurant: Crustacean
Favorite guilty pleasure: Chocolate chip cookies and red wine
Favorite pastime: Shopping

(Photo courtesy of Leslie Andrews Photography)

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