I am a Kleptomaniac of public and private moments. I steal images of people and objects in public environments and frame these moments for detailed observation with the addition of my own poetic essence. For the past 3 years, I have surrendered to and embraced the use of my iPhone camera as a source of creative achievement. In my work, I observe people and their environments, mostly in public space and primarily in Los Angeles, where I was born and have lived for most of my life.
I feel that Los Angeles is a unique city which has been built on imagination, expectations and disappointments.
An instant captured with my iPhone feels like gesture drawing to me. Tiny sketches drawn with pencil on scrap paper stop time. Parts of faces and stances that are simple human traits are magnified into art form. Although my main field of activity is photography, I also feel the need to bring ideas, concepts and memories into visual form that goes beyond the photographic frame. The installation assemblages that I create are hybrids of my own text, photographic images, found materials, paint and pastels and found objects from the street which find their way into my thoughts and observations and speak the visual answers.
My own ideal moment is the climax of all emotions and aesthetics. It is visually poetic.
The ideal moment cannot be achieved in post-editing. It can be learned and understood to some degree, but it is created from an innate understanding and perfected by practice to where it reaches the state of intuition. This, and my practice of taking several photos a day,(although I do slightly post edit for basic filters and cropping) has unknowingly trained me to automatically frame, edit, and most importantly, time all of my photos to render precise moments at their peak perfection. This formula creates the ideal moment.
And that ideal moment is what I am addicted to.
Each piece that I create has a different story. Some of my photos are printed in black & white, rendering a historical presence as if following the paths of ghosts of Los Angeles. Other photos are printed in color, their vibrancy heightened to play together as complementary colors, or faded to echo the early years of color photography. I can see the unwritten history in some of my photos. Content and mood of the photograph dictates these choices during a very brief post edit decision. While my assemblages are conceptual commentaries on my personal experiences, my photographs are conceptual commentaries on explorations of the world outside of me.
Another aspect that is satisfying to me is the validation that I feel when I am at the right place at the right time.
We don’t always get to feel this in everyday life.
Using an unconventional device to take photographs takes away the focus of validity of the machine and places it on the artist’s decision. This is a challenge that is gratifying to me. It is about decision making and opportunities. I feel that as an artist, I can take these events and present them in a visual manner that can evoke the essence of the emotion involved within the story-the hidden codes in life-and perhaps bring to light a common understanding or connection between the viewer and another person's experience.
Whether that experience is similar or foreign, the empathy is significant.
Please feel free to reach out if you are interested further in my work. Thank and enjoy!
Leslie J Frank
MFA Studio Art Claremont Graduate University
BA Studio Art Arizona State University
Art Educator, Instructor:
MOCA, Marciano Art Foundation, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Public Schools, University of LaVerne
Los Angeles, California