I had been taking photographs since high school but abandoned it for many years until I started traveling to India after college. Even then, I did not process the negatives or work with the images with such seriousness until I met Leandre Jackson, a brilliant photographer based out of Philadelphia. During all this time and for years to come, Leandre was a mentor, teaching me craft and encouraging me to keep shooting regardless of all else. See his work here.
Leandre was a senior paralegal by day at Community Legal Services, a nonprofit for civil legal aid for the poor. I was a law school intern entering my final year of law school. In between intakes for landlord-tenant matters, clients being evicted and suffering in inhabitable apartments, I consulted him about clients, and observed his images on the wall. One day I asked him about the photographs. When I told him that I took photographs too and he asked I share them, a beautiful collaboration unfolded. Leandre, Elizabeth Derickson, another photographer and former CLS housing unit paralegal, and I developed a group exhibit called “Living,” a collection of images portraying ordinary people from around the world and how they live.
In 2006, we exhibited “Living” in the Community Legal Services office in north Philadelphia together for the first time.
In 2008, we had a group exhibit in Chelsea, New York titled, “Look Close, See Far.”
In 2010, we shared “Living” at the Visual Legal Roundtable Conference at University of Pennsylvania.
In 2010, we also had another exhibition in the North Philadelphia office of Community Legal Services and this time with a Gallery Talk. Here are a few images by Leandre of me and Liz talking about our images.