LAYLA PERCHAL NEAL
// Layla is a British photographer based in Florida, USA. She took up photography as a teenager, and lately has been deepening her skills, expanding into analog medium-format photography, which she also used for this series of Southern Florida landscapes.
“I have been taking photographs since my father gifted me his Pentax 35mm at 18 years old and taking a course at university. Further to this I worked in broadcast news for ten years, and working at Al Jazeera in Qatar kickstarted a new passion for documentation.”
After moving to the USA in 2017 and experiencing a personal tragic loss and illness, Layla decided to apply for a Masters in photography after struggling and feeling alien in her new American life. The MA prompted her to explore medium format film. “I enjoy the format as a comparison to a canvas. Film allows you to simply apply more strategies and be playful.”
“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets to the stars, or sailed to an unchartered land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”
What draws you to the arts?
“Art is vital – our subjective impulses need to be expressed by whatever medium; for its an avenue to create and connect. We need to respond to our world.”
What do you like best about this project of landscape images?
“I like the moodiness and ambiguity of this imagery. There is mystery and a slowness connected to the images. I find these images contemplative and suggestive of worlds we cannot access physically.”
This work is about finding solace and refuge with Layla´s new environment. The title “Looking for fireflies” is derived from the fact that Layla saw these beautiful insects for the first time in these landscapes. It is part of an ongoing study for her final major project at Falmouth. For her film work she uses 120 film and a Pentax 645n. She usually develops her own film using a Labbox and dries it on the shower rail in the bathroom to reduce costs. She scans the negatives with an Epson scanner and then employs certain strategies to create a painterly feel. “I like to create a flatness.”
“The ‘Southern USA’ landscape is integrally associated with the literary and aesthetic of the ‘Southern Gothic’, yet for me it has become aligned more to a sense of the mystic, portals into other realms of the subconscious. My love for this landscape has contributed to a sense of new roots, new home and my appreciation for the land,” Layla says.
Click on the photos to see the full image with title, some images may be cropped for layout.
ALL PHOTOS © LAYLA PERCHAL NEAL
To see more of her photography visit Layla´s website and her Vero page and Instagram page.