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Interview: Dawn Leblanc

Dawn Leblanc

How long have you been photographing?

I got my first DSLR for Christmas in 2005 and haven’t looked back since. Prior to that, I had a few film cameras over the years, but it was the advent of digital that caused me to get more serious about it.

What inspired you to get into photography?

As a graphic designer by trade, I’ve always had a strong interest in photography. At first, my motivation was in large part fueled by my desire to make it easier to obtain the photos I wanted to incorporate into ads and websites, but the photogrpahy soon took on a life of its own and I became completely engrossed in it for its own sake.

Describe your photography in three words.

Clean, minimalistic, colorful.

What is your favorite lens?

My most used lens is my 100mm macro lens, but there are a few others that run a close second, most notably the 70-200 f/2.8 zoom.

What is your favorite camera?

I have both a Canon 5D Mark II and a Mark III. The 5D is wonderful for macros, the Mark III much better for sports and performance photography, both of which I’ve done quite a bit of.  I’ve also  been known to use a flatbed scanner as a poor man’s large format to scan actual 3D objects, and have had some interesting results. Instead of controlling images via the camera controls, one can employ the scanner software to control light fall-off, color, and so on,  however, the files produced generally require quite of bit of post-production work to clean them up. I’m very interested in alternative processes, and hope to get a view camera as well as to experiment with polaroids in the not too distant future, but first, I’ll spend some time with my little Holga and see what I can manage to produce with it.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I do spend quite a bit of time looking through books and magazines, both those devoted to photography and those not, however, in an immediate sense my source of inspiration, when shooting flowers in particular, comes more from my subjects than anything. I spend quite a bit of time viewing them from different angles and different levels of magnification to capture shapes and lines I feel might be pleasing.  I’ll often take 40 or 50 shots of the same subject over a period of hours or possibly days to capture it in various stages of growth or decay and with different kinds of lighting.

Could you describe the process or idea behind your favorite picture that was in one of our shows? (above)

This image of the red gerbera was one of the last I took of this increasingly wilting bloom, having spent a couple hours making a variety of different images of it. Gerberas are one of the most photographed flowers, and it is difficult to come up with a way to photograph them that stands out in the plethora of gerbera images already available.  I decided to keep the image very simple and rely solely on the shape and strong colour of the flower, turning it around to shoot from the back to take advantage of its strong graphic lines. It sounds a bit trite, but sometimes it’s easier to stand out in a crowd by doing less rather than more, letting your subject take the lead. My thought was that if printed on a large canvas it would make a strong statement without any extra adornment or special effects, and hopefully I accomplished that.

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