It's difficult to write an about page for anything, especially in a constrained display box for a website. So for those who might never meet me or for those who might meet me in passing, I'll do my best to give you Leah in a nutshell… or well in a small, white box.
When It Began
My father met my mother years ago in Panama when he was stationed there back in the early 90’s. Though I was too young to understand, let alone accept picking up and leaving new friends, I eventually developed an appreciation for a military lifestyle and it became a catalyst to my traveling desires. Interestingly enough, I was discouraged to roam outside of the house when I was younger. After high school, I thought attending college would allow me that freedom, but I found myself hesitant to explore, hearing my parents’ voice looming over my shoulders. Yet, it never dwindled my curiosity.
Most rebelliousness in early college years would have been drug and alcohol experimentation, maybe even as far to say sexual experiences. But my quote on quote “experimental phase” was figuring out how to get myself from Point A to Point B without my parents finding out. I thought it would be simple while I attended college in America and they were located overseas in Germany. I would spend weeks just eating prepackaged salami and loaves of bread to save money for train tickets or sell random bits of furniture to save for a flight. I even went as far to use money that was being sent to me from my parents for housing as a way to save for larger trips. It didn’t take long to get caught, but I quickly developed an addiction to traveling, especially on my own, and it was a high that I didn’t want to overcome and a feeling I wanted to pass around to others.
The "Art Kid"
It was difficult growing up as the "art kid." I always got subtle hints from family and acquaintances that it was a risky path to take and that I might not be as successful as having a foundational occupation that paid salary. Something shifted for me in 2008 when I was participating in a service project in Turnov, Czech Republic. Every evening a group of young college students projected a slideshow of all the photos they took of us while we were rebuilding playgrounds and clearing brush from homes. I didn't have high expectations for the images but when the room turned black, our faces glowing from the luminance of the screen, I was captivated by the personalities and honest emotions they captured. Then a panned image of me was displayed. I was joyously carrying branches over my back with mud splattered across my face; I was brought to tears when I saw it. Soon after, I realized the amount of power and influence you could have by taking pictures and the art process enthralled me. I wanted to give people that same level of awe I experienced when I was 14 years old.
I’ve travelled to more than 15 countries and have roamed across a handful of states in America. I changed schools just as often as I lose the matches to my socks. In 2007, I attended high school in Germany. After being prompted to look at colleges in America, I ventured back to the U.S. in 2010. I attended Penn State University, University of Adelaide in Australia, and the University of Tampa where I finally finished my Bachelors of Fine Arts with an Art Therapy concentration in 2014. About two weeks of crying to myself that I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I applied as an online Masters student at Full Sail University, where I gained a Master of Fine Arts in New Media Journalism. I committed to an online program in order to have the flexibility to continue my studies while not pushing aside my travels.
I take photographs and share my experiences because I believe that the smallest moments we exchange with anyone are quintessential to our existence and outlook on how we interact with the world and the people that thrive in it. My experiences have immensely influenced my work and I’ll continue to travel to expand my knowledge, discover new places, and learn about different cultures. With that, I'll do my best to share them as intimately as I can. I want you to be able to taste the lingering tannins on your tongue from a Cabernet in Spain or the warmth of Italy on your shoulders; see the smiles of dancers in Portugal or weep with the Aborigines in Australia. I hope that my images and words will leave a lasting impression on your heart and you'll feel that yearn to discover and create your own personal experiences some day.
I seek to find. I find to learn. I learn to inspire.