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Shannon Leith

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Flash Powder Retreat #6 - Explosive!

August 6-11 marked the sixth Flash Powder Projects retreat.  Five photographers were invited to participate based on the quality of their work and their ability and willingness to contribute to the group.  And these guys? Home run. The five day, four night retreats are designed to help photographers tighten a body of work and develop a strategic plan to release it.  But that's just the tip of the iceberg.  We all leave exhausted, inspired, and ready to rock.  I am so fortunate to get to do what I do.

Take a minute to check out the work of this talented and diverse group:

David Kressler

Shannon Leith

Emma Powell

Nick Shepard

Tristan Spinski

Are you a photographer interested in getting a project ready to launch? Check out Flash Powder Projects here.

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LPS Spotlight: Shannon Leith

Since the photographers featured in the Local Photographer Showcases in each city are supremely talented and excited about reaching new audiences with their work, we will be regularly featuring them to give you more insight into their work and their experience Crusading. Next up is Shannon Leith from the LA Crusade pop-up:

Tell us a little about your background as a photographer and where you are now with your work.

When I was young I had no idea I was creative. I thought I'd be a 4th grade teacher when I grew up. I somehow was inspired to be an art major in college even though I had no art background, and have been a photographer ever since. I graduated with my BFA in photography from Biola University in 2009 and had a 6 year stint of photographing weddings that lasted until the end of 2012. I closed down my business so that I could focus on applying to grad schools and to concentrate more on my own fine art.  Right now, I'm working on a project where I photograph USPS Mail Trucks every time I see them. I'm interested in the mail system because my best friend and I have been sending each other a post card every week for 3 years, so I'm documenting the thing that brings me that piece of connection with her.

How did you hear about the Crusade, and what were your initial impressions?

My college photo professor, Kurt Simonson was participating and told me about it, and I immediately thought: "now THIS is something I could get behind".

Were you excited to participate in the Local Photographer Showcase?  Why or why not?

YES! It was an honor to be asked, and I love events with no strings attached. No money, no buy-in, no rules, no theme. The whole thing felt very grassroots and genuine, which lines up with the type of life I want to live.

How did the event go for you?  Was it like you expected or different?  Better or worse?

I had lots of long conversations. I expected things to be more like a flash mob: tons of people for a short amount of time, but there was more lingering than I expected which was refreshing. It was better than I thought it would be, because it produced actual connections and conversations instead of being a free for all where people mobbed you to get free art. Ha, I guess I thought I'd have people jumping me. That didn't happen.

What do you hope will come out of the experience for you - personally and professionally? Do you think those are realistic expectations?

With an event like this my only hope was to have human to human interaction, and that completely happened.  I think a lot of us photographers are getting tired of online relationships and conversations, so something tangible and real was exactly what I needed. I would be fine if nothing happened professionally----- I'm not expecting to get a show or something big out of doing this.  I just wanted to be present with people on the day of the event, and to me that made it a success.

Tell us about the image you gave away at the event and how to see more of your work.

I gave away this rainbow spectrum image that I took with my iphone. You can find my work at shannonleith.com/blog, and my most current work is on instagram! (shannon_leith).

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LA Crusade: Sunshine & Success!

There could not have been a better way to start the west coast leg of the tour than with the Crusade pop-up event Saturday in Venice.  It was ridiculous - sunshine, huge crowds, lots of pre-event buzz, energetic and talented participating photographers, enthusiastic audience. . . it was beyond, beyond my highest hopes. From the first minute we pulled up in front of the Alternative Apparel store (an awesome partner and responsible for our tour-exclusive t-shirts and hoodies), it was bananas.  People everywhere wanting to know what was going on, what the Crusade was about, where exactly this Lady Blue was going. . . Shannon Leith, one of the superbly talented local photographer showcasers, said it best (and caused the group to double over in laughter) when we stopped in the middle of the fantastic chaos to take a group photo, and she leaned her face up to the sun, eyes closed, and said, "feel this moment, guys".

Bootsy Holler, Tom Johnson, Shannon Leith, Kurt Simonson, Jeff Rau

Bootsy Holler, Tom Johnson, Shannon Leith, Kurt Simonson, Jeff Rau

In case you need a refresher, five local photographers are curated into the project in each tour city.  They each give away ten signed copies of one of their images in a 6x9ish size.  And they need to have chutzpah too, since they actively engage people walking by.  This group was tops.  There wasn't a single moment of pause - it was a chorus of "Would you like to become an art collector today for free?" and "Would you like an original signed photograph to take home today?".  Art guns blazing, charm for days - these photographers were amazing and each made it a point to have meaningful conversations with their new collectors about the image, about themselves, about the project, about the awesomeness of art.

You're totally jealous you missed out on these beauties, right?

Be on the lookout for the webisode of this pop-up on our YouTube channel in a few days, but in the meantime, here are some fun photos from the event to give you the flavor.

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