contemporary art digital photo art experimental photography fine art Leanne Staples modern art museum painting photo art photo collage USA



// Leanne is a licensed New York City tour guide, photographer, artist and writer. She has long been involved in making abstract photography.  She shared a set of photo-montages, or in-camera collages, she made at an exhibition at the MoMA in New York.

Leanne has been photographing for 40+ years. A self-taught artist, she likes to explore the areas of the mind that tend to get lost in the everyday rational thought. They represent the gaps between thoughts and words. Those areas that don’t easily translate into proper grammar. “It has been through unlearning the rules that I have been able to find a medium to communicate.”

Lens-based art is one of the mediums in which she creates visual poetry.

“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

What draws you to the arts?

“Image making is what I live for. I create both in visual images and words. My creative process is a process that has evolved out of failure. That is to say, a failure to neatly fit into any specific genres that I have tried out. When I am fortunate, images and words complement each other. They exist together as one complete expression.”

What do you like best about your abstractions of these images from an exhibition at the MOMA ?

“I really like the graphic style of the Eastern European Avant-Garde and the minimal colors they use. The images in the exhibit lend themselves to being combined in multiple images. I experience art of all kinds, through photographing it. There is a rhythm to the activity as the images that I use are in close proximity to each other, there is an element of chance involved in the process.”

Leanne practices many different creative styles including photomontage images, which are included in this series. Creating them is akin to making a collage with a camera. She made these images, all multiple exposures, on a recent visit to the MoMA modern art museum in New York City. “In a sense it is very much like sampling music is in rap music,” she says.

The exhibition Engineer, Agitator, Constructor. The Artist Reinvented was on view at the MoMA from December 2020 to April 2021. The works on view came out of a movement to reinvent art, a radically new approach to artmaking in the 1920s and ’30s. These artists—self-designated “engineers,” “agitators,” “constructors,” “photomonteurs,” or “workers”—created new visual languages. Photomontage was important, with images taken from newspapers and magazines pasted together into something new. 

Leanne picks up on this art form with her own in-camera collages, which take these artists´ images as a base and transform them to put her own spin on them.

Images may be cropped for layout. Click on the photos to see a larger image with orginal proportions.


To see more of her photography visit Leanne´s Instagram page and her website. You may also be interested in her blog and, in particular, in her thoughts about abstract photography.

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