Leoneverre’s unique photographs are now spread across a collection marked by values and a certain nonchalance. She says it herself: “my photos are a bit like tattoos that you engrave in your skin”.
It is essential to know more, the appointment is made. Let’s go to Mexico, where Léon lives, for an eye-to-eye meeting with this artist with an atypical style, a singular universe and an inspiring creative path.
Passport: First name, last name, age, place of birth?
“My name is Léa, but I prefer to be called Léon, I am 28 years old and I was born in Bron, in the 69 (the “Bronx” as my friends would say). I’m very proud to be from Lyon because it’s a city that radiates throughout the world culturally speaking and I like to be associated with this vision.”
Let’s not talk too much, but let’s talk about photography!
Why do you do it? For how long? What inspires you? Your background? Your references? Tell us everything!
“I started photography in high school, but I have always been attracted to the artistic world, especially to photography and drawing. My aunt, who studied fine art in Paris, has greatly contributed to the development of my sensibility on these two points and also on writing but that’s another subject. However, I really started to get involved in photography during my first trip to Brazil in 2014, which was followed by a year in Mexico in 2015 where I spent most of my time travelling and photographing every corner of the country.”
You work on the other side of the world (in Mexico) and you are a content creator, how do you live this freedom and the fact of being a “digital nomad”?
“I went back to Mexico City because, after this year of confinement, I needed to see my Mexican friends and travel for a few months to refocus on myself and breathe again.
I had already lived in Mexico City for a year but with the pandemic, the megalopolis was not as lively as it was and the restrictions were very restrictive. After a few weeks in the capital, I landed in Sayulita, a small “pueblo mágico” on the Mexican Pacific coast. I fell in love with the region, the jungle and the sea, and my 3 months of travel quickly turned into 8…”
What tools do you use to capture your images?
“I’ve always had a camera in my bag, I started with little Kodak instant cameras and polaroids, (which for me are still basics) but to be honest, my iPhone is still my best friend, especially when it comes to Instagram (laughs)
By the way, my ex-boyfriend bought me a REAL camera for my 27th birthday, a little canon powershot g9x mark II, telling me he couldn’t stand seeing me taking pictures with my phone… Otherwise, I just bought a minolta film camera which is as old as I am and I spent my summer with it! I still have a lot to learn about this type of photography, where the approach is totally different from digital, but that’s exactly what I like and what makes film photography so special.”
What message, what emotion do you wish to transmit through your photos?
For me, being a photographer means sharing your vision of the world and your sensitivity with others to bring out something, a learning, an emotion, a memory, a concept, an opinion. Photographs are a bit like tattoos that we engrave in our skin. If you choose to take one, at a specific moment, it is because you want to remember it immutably. They have to transmit and live in time, and that is for me what makes sense in photography.
Do you have any values/convictions that you hold dear?
“Before being a photographer, I am above all a humanitarian. After long studies at university, with a bachelor’s degree and a double master’s degree in Communication, Media, Development and Societies, mainly focused on international solidarity, I decided to invest in a civic service for UNICEF after my studies in order to develop my skills. Following this, I was laureate of the Institut de l’engagement and continued my studies at Bioforce to become a Project Manager in child protection.
of projects in child protection in emergency situations, in Senegal, in Dakar where I spent 6 months. My vision of the world was completely changed during this trip and it deeply convinced me that I wanted to make my passion for Humanity, a guideline for all my future aspirations. To share my commitment in order to make mentalities evolve, because it is by being an actor of change yourself that you have an impact on what surrounds you. As a world citizen, I think it is a duty to bring a more ethical and human vision through my work, and the realization of my projects encourages me in my quest for meaning and I would like this to be reflected in what I share.”
You are the first photographer to join Janolo, why this choice?
“I chose Janolo because we both share common values and vision. We are both independent and passionate women who want to share our convictions and our work by transmitting a commitment that makes sense, especially in a society where sincerity and transparency are increasingly rare… I am very proud to be part of this adventure, and especially to be the first photographer to join this platform!”
How do you view the status of women in photography?
As a woman, in a society built on a patriarchal model, I think it is very important to transmit, to encourage and to highlight the situation of thousands of women and girls in the world who do not all have the chance and freedom to express themselves. I have always been inspired by strong women since I was a child, from Antigone to Simone de Beauvoir, or even Gisèle Halimi, probably because those around me are warriors and I always wanted to follow their example. The photographers I admire are mostly women! I love the work of Denisse Ariana Perez, Lou Escobar, Mariana Garcia, Natalie Karpushenko… the list is long!
What advice would you give to a young photographer?
“The only advice I could give today is to have confidence in yourself and to fight for your convictions against all odds, because the freedom to be yourself and to do what you love is priceless.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“In 10 years, I would like to be able to tell my children that with patience, ambition and love, you can do anything. I would like them to be proud of the path I am building and that in a few years, I will continue to live from my passions, in a small house by the sea, with a large vegetable garden and lots of animals!”