The danger of entering photography as a profession in the 21st Century is that of being derivative. We are gradually drowning in an ocean of imagery swelling at an exponential rate as more and more people look to forge careers as photographers. The irony is that many established practioners openly question how much longer the traditional idea of photography might be commercially viable. In the meantime the wannabes churn out work that is little more than a pastiche of the work that inspired them to pick up a camera in the first place.
On the positive side, the more enured we become to seeing the same things endlessly repeated, the greater the satisfaction that arises from catching the glint of a gem in the sunlight. Today I have had one of those moments, and I am going to stick my neck out on the block.
While others his age were studying assiduously, a young British boy moved from his family home in Sussex to a flat in Florence in an effort to learn how to be a photographer by learing about life. To put it another way, he set out to become a photographer the old fashioned way. Driven by what is going on in his head and in front of his eyes, his creative sparkle has not been throttled by an over-emphasis on technique. While he is interested in many genres, he has determined that his own innate passions and creative bents should shoulder the burden of developing his eye.
I have been watching his work for a couple of years, and from what I have seen his sense of style is unique. Clearly I am not the only one to think so, as he has started to pick up some interesting and enjoyable commissions. Where others his age might be tempted to do the easy thing and make the money, he sees every job as an opportunity to push his creative envelope.
He still has a long way to go, but I think Leo Bieber is a name to watch.