Joanne Leah

Nov 21st, 2017

Joanne Leah


Joanne Leah is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She was born in Germany, adopted at birth and grew up in a small mountain town in Southwest Virginia.

Tell us about the images that we’re featuring?

These images are part of a two-year body of work that I have been calling Acid Mass. This series is informed by my own personal experiences with the unreal, through acts of rebellion, sexual experimentation and psychedelic voyeurism that I experienced frequently as a teenager.  I would take LSD, go to raves, and my mother would make me go to Catholic mass on Sunday morning while I was still hallucinating. The images are based on this world: ritualistic, isolated, trapped, detached, bizarre, childlike and somewhat violent.

How does technology affect your photography?

Technology has always influenced me but I originally learned traditional black and white photography and darkroom printing techniques. I bought a digital camera in 2008, taught myself how to use it and never looked back.

How does social media affect you and your work?

Social media is a space to connect with people and share ideas. I have also found many subjects through social media. It is like having a digital, online extension of my studio.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on a large grid of images that will be in a show in NYC in march. I am also experimenting with implementing video into my prints, I am calling this my Acid Mass Wall.

Why did you start taking photos?

I started out studying sculpture, then switched to fashion design because I wanted to make my own wearable sculptures. I started using photography as a way to document my work, but it quickly became a seamless part of the process and eventually a part of the finished product. To me, the act of making images, for the sole purpose of making them, feels very pure, like poetry.

What other forms of art inform your work?

I am influenced by Dada, Deconstructivism and Surrealism. I use common objects in unexpected ways, objectify the body so it appears confusing or broken and ultimately transform the image into a symbol that is part of its own visual language.

How do you determine if a work has been a success?

I never think about a work as a success, to me it is a step toward something else.