Elle-May Leckenby has been passionate about photography since her early teens. Over time, she's created ethereal imagery that employs a muted colour palette while focusing on beautiful and intricate details. Her love of of style led to the creation of her widely adored namesake website, that showcases her collaboration with brands, timeless photography and even an online store. Inherently creative, she's recently begun making cinemagraphs and contributing to Vogue. We caught up with Elle-May to talk about her biggest inspirations and how to cultivate a unique creative style.
When did you first know you wanted to be a photographer?
When I was 14 I really got an overwhelming feeling looking at photography through Flickr. At this age I began practicing it! So I'd say this is when.
What do you shoot on – digital or film? And why do you choose to use that type?
Mainly digital because I love the editing / the creation process of an image so much. For me a lot of my passion comes through crafting imagery. Although last Spring I took some on film (first I had in so long) and it was really cool to feel the excitement from having to wait to see the results!
When taking photos, do you have a controlled set-up or are you more spontaneous?
Definitely spontaneous but in that, I have to have some elements of control. For example, I will use a tripod if I'm shooting on timer or I have to really think the shot through as it's crucial to the seamlessness in how I'm editing.
What other photographers do you love?
I am fortunate to have close friends who inspire me, Theresa Fryer (starmaidens), my Fiancé Christian Watson (1924us). One of my first favourites (from Flickr) was an English Artist Kirsty Mitchell. I am really drawn to ethereal truth / simplicity in a shot and a consistent lifestyle to back up the art and meaning. I also love amazing metaphoric surrealism!
What do you enjoy doing when not taking photos?
I love swimming and finding beaches to read / think. Also really enjoy just being around friends and family. Riding bikes, going for drives, walking & of course music.
What advice can you offer on finding your personal style or aesthetic?
I'd say stay really close to your most honest inspiration, wherever it comes from. Take time without the internet or obvious sources of quick / easy fuel & dig and practice and dig some more and keep going until your work breathes life.
Do you find that your study in design has helped craft your photography aesthetic?
Definitely. And from that I have the fundamental understanding to keep learning. The learning will never stop!
What is the strangest thing or thought that has inspired a photo?
I get these all the time! I often get really inspired by reading or lyrics. Probably when I plan video clips to songs in my head and from the story line of the make believe clip I'll pull out photo ideas! This often translates in my outfit shots too haha no one would ever know!
Your cinemagraphs are so simple and beautiful, how did you begin on these?
I saw an artist on Tumblr (Maori Sakai) that created these whimsical moving drawings of machinery. They inspired me like nothing before. I couldn't stop watching the flow of these soft sketched drawings animate. And I thought, surely I could do something similar with personal style & photography? It definitely started with a feeling I experienced.
What is your favourite project you have worked on?
I truly try to thoroughly enjoy every project I take on and take a viewpoint of journey not destination. This helps me get out of my comfort zones too as naturally I gravitate towards fashion / style based imagery. I also really enjoy photographing weddings and personal based portraiture.
Elle-May wears pieces from Stevie's Quaintrelle 17' Collection, shop here.
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