Today we’d like to introduce you to Aaron Guy Leroux.
Aaron, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born. I suffered. I died… my story is hardly more than that. I came to photography late in life, and to photojournalism, I arrived even later still. As with any late adherent, I felt that I had a lot to learn, and not much time in which to learn it. And so, I made the only move I thought would offer me a chance at the life I wanted: In 2013 I began a process of removing myself from our country, and culture. I found work as a photographer on a cruise ship. From there, I moved to Korea for two years to work and ended up photographing the Umbrella Movement protests in Hong Kong. After that experience, two truths were revealed to me: 1) I was hooked on photojournalism, and 2) I was not going to return to my society in any meaningful way. Over the last four years, I have been traveling continuously, and taking photos.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Thus far the meta-theme of my work has been about the effects of power in the world. My pursuit of that idea has led me to photograph protests, refugees, and individuals simply living their lives. Personally and aesthetically I care deeply about people. What their lives are like, and how they live. To combine all that: My interest in people, over the years, led me to the larger theme of my work. I built it up, one frame at a time.
I don’t have any real interest in what people take away from my work. Once I send a photo into the world, it has its own journey that I don’t get to be a part of. Anything I may do to shape people’s opinions about my work is probably happening in-camera. Beyond that, there is no benefit to spending my time and energy trying to be understood by strangers.
Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
Conditions for artists today are something akin to Nirvana. There are fewer obstacles than at any time in human history between an artist and her ability to produce and distribute her work. It is a golden age for producing art and getting it in front of eyeballs. However, it is the dark ages for separating signal from noise.
Easier or harder? The life of an artist is always hard. As it should be. Artists live in ambiguity, in a world of symbols, metaphors, complexity. The ease of being able to produce art in your chosen medium does not mean that it is easier to be an artist. If you want easy, go work in a cubicle. If you want to produce art, it will be difficult.
Cities have enormous power to help artists, and many of them are exercising that power. I’m part of a mailing list that notifies me about calls for public art. Cities all over the country have huge budgets for art installations, and they are constantly calling for artists. With that said, I think cities could go a long way to encourage artists by raising those budgets and finding ways to introduce artists to their communities. LA has a great tradition of this. People all over town can name local artists working in nearly any genre. More cities could take up that ethos.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My work is available on my website: www.aaronguyleroux.com, where you can also purchase prints of my work if you wish to support what I do.
Also, Instagram: @aaronguyleroux
- Website: www.aaronguyleroux.com
- Instagram: @aaronguyleroux
Aaron Guy Leroux/Sipa USA