Hey Internet Friends!
I feel like I've been throwing up pictures so fast since I launched LeannaBre Photography that I have kinda gotten ahead of myself. I haven't been talking about what my work means.
Not using words to accompany photos is a HUGE MISTAKE.
A mistake I'm well familiar with because I used to make it alllllll the time. I used to just show people my pictures and then think I was done.
I didn't know why that didn't get the response I want, or even sometimes didn't get any response at all.
I thought of images as a sort of universal language that transcends explanation (of course now we know that the idea of universal language is totally harmful and colonialist - oops) so I was surprised when people didn't feel anything when they looked at my work. We feel something when we look at art because of context. And words provide the context.
See, when I see my pictures I see it all, I see the twenty shots I took before that and the twenty shots after and how that person made me feel and what I love about them and what I was wanting at that point in my life and the smell of the wind that day. That's why I love images, because they transport us. Images also help me - a sensory avoidant person - have a little space between me in the world so everything doesn't come at me so fast. I need the world a little blunted and this way is healthier than a lot of other ways I've tried before - at least its a good fit for me right now which is perhaps what we mean when we call something healthy.
In an effort to talk more clearly about my art, I updated my FAQ page. (( click here to check it out if you've never read it before)) I cut some services that I was offering that were not a good fit for me and added some services that I believe are a stronger match for me.
One major thing I added is the addition of a trade or barter option for prospective clients who might not be able to afford my full fee in this city of Seattle which is quickly becoming one of the most expensive cities in the nation. If you are a person who has money, I am thrilled to accept your money in payment for my work. But if you don't have money - and lots of people don't - I don't want to close the door on the possibility of us making something beautiful together.
Now you and I both know that America is a cash economy. I have never been paid at my job with eggs or embroidery. I get paid in cash and I pay others for their jobs IN CASH and that's how it works. We all work with cash. Photographers are usually advised by business gurus to market their luxury product towards only people who can afford it. Which isn't a terrible idea until you look back at the last five years of your work and realize that you've only photographed ONE KIND OF PERSON because that is the kind of person who can afford photography.
I'm like most artists... I want my work to be seen, I want my work to be loved and I want to make enough money off my work so I can keep making my work. I cannot do it for free. I would starve to death and stop making more art and that is lame.
What gets me up in the morning is my deep love for the work, this work, my work, the work of photographing people in their quiet, ordinary, loud, spectacular lives. I love to make it. I love the feeling when people invite me into their lives in a way that bonds us like best friends even if its only for a few hours. The last year I've taken my camera into a hospital with a scared family, into a woman's bathtub, into a couple's bed, into a bride's bedroom, into undone kitchens and emotional faces and kisses and frustration and beauty Beauty and I LOVE THAT. I live for that. That's what I want most of all.
So much of this last year has been me trying to figure out HOW to structure my business so I can do more photographing of ordinary people in their ordinary beautiful lives and also stay afloat financially. And one thing I have learned is that it takes me a lot of hours to do that work. It takes many many hours of putting my work out into the world so that someone who wants me can find me. Then it a couple of hours of planning and researching and emailing, some hours of shooting, then so many hours of editing.
I've had humans request services over and over who can't afford them. Or who are choosing to budget their money a different way, and I'm cool with that. but also I dont want to switch to mini sessions (less connection) or other measures that would help with the money but that are not a good fit for me.
So I want to say explicitly that I am open for trade.
What does trade mean? It means that you can offer me cash for my services or you can offer me the trade equivalent of that cash amount in your labor or your product.
What kinds of trades do I accept you ask? Well.... Do you have a summer garden bounty? Do you make the world's best cheesecake? Will you clean my house or babysit my kid or teach me a skill or make me jewelry or grocery shop for me or make me business cards or tattoo my body or give me a gift certificate for your restaurant?
I'm officially interested.
Trade takes a little more work from both of us. Cash is easy. You have it or you don't. Trade requires more internal searching. It requires you to ask yourself 'what do I have to offer?' which is honestly a vulnerable question. It requires vulnerability on my part too as I've had to learn to say to people, I'm sorry but that isn't a trade I want. (shoutout to the yoga studios I've turned down because they were too far of a commute. I see yall).
If you've been reading this and nodding excitedly - email me with that photography idea you have had percolating and let me know if you have a cash budget or an offer for trade.
Some things I'm literally always looking for (not an exhaustive list) :
-Someone to teach my kid something (karate, gymnastics, juggling, art)
-Someone to watch my kid for me
-Someone to help me garden. I'm so bad at it!
-Someone to cook for me - do you make pickles or arrange flowers or bake cakes or brew cider or bake bread.
-Someone to do all my mending for me
- Exercise options in Magnolia or Queen Anne (Yoga, pilates...I don't know)
-Gift certificates to local businesses- Do you own a gym or a brewery or a dance studio or a cake shop or a restaurant or color me mine or bar or those fancy white lady leggings or an etsy store? I'm SO INTERESTED!
Lets turn this city into a neighborhood. Lets connect and share and trade and ask and learn and give. I have something that's worth something. I KNOW you do too.