By Van Leigh Armer
Portraits and Purpose
Van Leigh’s photographs embody a subtle, yet genuine reveal of the character of her subjects. As she makes intimate observations of the sitter, her personal narratives, truths, and background are also brought to notice. It’s all about social equity, building a relationship.
Graduate of Mississippi State University College of Art and Design, she continues to draw upon her training and take cues from cultural painting references, to mold her visuals. Androgynously charged, her concepts are fueled from access to other industry verticals and other fields including: architecture, interiors, design, sound, and sculpture.
Her capacity for capturing complex self portraits, color, sculptural potential of an action and improvisation makes her visuals timeless.
After years (possibly most of my lifetime) of choosing to appease others, I decided finally to pursue to my purpose by switching my major from Pre-Veterinary Science to Art/ Photography. This was one of the most transformative decisions that I’d ever made. I allowed people to project their fears upon me when it came to my career choice and in return, I began to doubt myself.
My family, whose support noticeably wavered, caused me to shut down and focus in on defining my purpose. Film and self-portraits became an everyday practice during this time; I had this burning desire to figure out whom I was becoming mentally and creatively.
I learned to analyze the facial structure, examine undertones, and generally question everything. I was able to take various studio art classes that enabled me to further my artistic abilities and become more aware of my creative output when it came to different fields of fashion, advertising, art direction, visual design, digital, and social media. I began to understand myself.
I embody the vision and a voice that enables me to translate complex concepts into captivating creations. I have a keen understanding and appreciation for design and I plan to continue sharpening my visual problem-solving skills, to cultivate my photographic style, and to broaden my work experience in the advertising industry.