Leah Berman is an artist working in photography, still video, and animated GIFs. Her work most often captures a variety of landscapes as well as elements found in nature, such as florals and mountain scenes. Leah’s recognizable aesthetic paints these pictures in a fantasy-esque light; the images being edited to reveal a dreamy colour palette of purple, orange, pinks and greens. It is as if these edits are Leah’s own way of leaving her signature, by inserting herself into the images.
To learn more about Leah Berman and her work, we asked her a few questions about how she got started, what her process is like, and what she’s most looking forward to.
Ephimera: Describe your journey. When did you first start taking photographs?
Leah: I started taking photographs soon after graduating from university in 2012. Although I graduated with one of my degrees dedicated to the Visual Arts, my focus was actually on painting and metal sculpture fabrication. I found myself yearning to express myself creatively but unfortunately had limited funds, time, and space to continue painting and fabricating in the ways I had been accustomed to before.
Having been an avid hiker my entire life, I slowly started taking photos with a phone whenever I found myself outdoors in nature. I began to apply my knowledge of painting landscapes to what I wanted to capture in a photograph and learned how to use a variety of editing programs to achieve the desired aesthetic in my mind. Initially, I thought that I would be able to use these hiking photographs as references for future landscape paintings, but I ended up really enjoying photography itself as a medium for creative expression. After getting my first camera, I decided to share the photos on social media and thus began my focused foray into photography of landscapes and nature.
Since then, I learned how to create and loop gifs and videos to accompany my photographs from the places I visit. Seamless looping of certain natural elements can be difficult, but it becomes a very satisfying achievement for me when done correctly. In creating gifs and videos, I seek to invoke the viewer with a sense of time and place; as if they too were present in that moment.
Currently, I am pleased to have been acknowledged, awarded, and to have shown my digital landscape work through several companies, shows, and museums internationally.
Ephimera: The subject of your photographs are often picturesque landscapes. What is it about these scenes that you are so drawn to?
Leah: I really enjoy being in and exploring the outdoors, and capturing a moment in time within nature. The outdoors has always been something that calms me and takes away the monotony of everyday life. I personally see landscapes as an escape and acknowledgement to the beauty of our world.
Ephimera: Your work carries themes of dreamy, soft pastels in each image. What is it that you’re trying to convey with the use of this colour palette?
Leah: Great question! This particular colour palette was also used often within my landscape paintings in the past … perhaps it is because I favour these colours subconsciously or am comfortable in using them effectively to denote mood and feeling of certain settings. It’s a way to express my feelings and memories of how I felt when at a particular location.
I edit most of my photography with this palette in mind because I think it helps convey tranquility and a sense of softness and femininity. I like to think that every piece I have shared is a small part of a moment I experienced and seek to share it with others to also find peace in landscapes as I do. The personal touch of dreaminess is what I am currently exploring as a style as well.
Ephimera: What are you working on next? What can we look forward to?
Leah: I am currently getting through editing some landscapes from Big Sur, California from a summer trip I took this year. I’m one of those artists that takes my time with editing; I do not share anything until it is the best I can do and often go through multiple edits until I am satisfied that I have captured the mood and moment to my liking. In time, I do also plan to come back to my initial love of painting landscapes, as well as possibly exploring the creation of 3D art of landscapes that linger in my imagination.