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Behind the Lens with Samara Leung

Element Eden took 10 minutes with friend of the brand Samara Leung to talk photography and life behind the lens.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT HOW YOU FIRST GOT INTO PHOTOGRAPHY AND HOW YOUR INTEREST BLOOMED?

I've always had a love for photography. As a child I remember my father had brought home a polaroid camera from his work and I wanted to use it so badly, in the end I was in big trouble for using the entire film box. My mother also had a 35mm Canon AE-1 SLR, a great little camera, I loved playing with the focus point by using the adjustable lens. It was not until my final years of high school that it all came together with a class in photography and it was one of the first classes at my high school to use photoshop on a Mac computer. I fell in love with the digital editing as well as shooting on film and the entire black and white development process, measuring the chemicals and shaking the film in the developer. I enjoyed this so much so that my teacher recommended that I do a summer entry class into multimedia, that I then finished off at college with a diploma. After moving to the Gold Coast I applied for a job at a small photolab where I did digital restorations as well as developed black & white and slide film for professional Gold Coast photographers. I was able to see the incredible work of some really talented people and learnt a great amount about the film development process. I've now been building and running my commercial photography business for the past four years.

WHAT DO YOU ADMIRE ABOUT THE MEDIUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY?

I love the way photography captures a moment in time that evokes emotion well past that moment. Photography is so accessible today, from smartphones to full frame digital cameras. The photography industry is vast, but I have a love for all facets of it. From photo journalism - capturing incredible images of world suffering that break your heart, to wedding photography - that when viewing the happy couple you can not help but smile along with them, to astrophotography - being in awe of the sky, space, the stars and the universe. I love how photography gives everyone access to share memories together.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO?

I love that through photography I am able to collaborate and work with different people all over the world. I get to travel to breath-taking locations and my office comes along with me. I don't think I could ever go back to working in a single office cubicle again. I'm also a huge gadget geek, and I enjoy the technical aspects of all of the equipment I get to test out.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED WITH ELEMENT EDEN FOR?

I have been working with the Element Eden team for four years now. Element Eden was so wonderful to take a chance on me four years ago and give me the opportunity to grow and develop my style with their brand. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all of the team past and present and look forward to the next photoshoot!

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE ELEMENT EDEN PHOTOSHOOTS?

All of the photoshoots have been incredible to be apart of, every time we collaborate on a photoshoot it feels like we have outdone the last photoshoot. So my favourite would have to be the last photoshoot we did down in Tasmania at the base of Cradle Mountain on the shores of Dove Lake with Loretta Lizzio. It was my first trip to Tasmania, the scenery was just so stunning, Loretta was incredible to work with, we had a great team and we were able to create some incredible images - I seriously can not wait for next winter to come around.

FOR GIRLS WANTING TO GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY, WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THEY DO TO START A CAREER?

Buy an SLR camera and practice! Practice with friends, get outdoors or take photos of yourself. Photography is all about problem solving, so experiment and get to know your camera. Photography is an expensive hobby, so start with what you can afford and then when you make some money invest in upgrading your equipment.

WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT CAPTURING THAT PERFECT MOVEMENT FOR YOU ON CAMERA? WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE WHEN YOU KNOW YOU HAVE THE SHOT?

You can not take the same photo twice, so when you capture the right frame it's a really special moment. You can try and have the model make the same pose, but the light may have changed or the models feet may not be in the same position. So when I do get it right I feel pretty proud, and also a little relieved that I have been able to deliver the job a client has hired me for.

HAS PHOTOGRAPHY TAKEN YOU TO PLACES ALL AROUND THE WORLD?

Yes I have been privileged to travel all over Australia and overseas with my work. One of my highlights was travelling to New York to shoot the New York Bridal week runway for The LANE - it was fast paced and very exciting travelling from show to show across Manhattan.

DO YOU DABBLE IN ANY OTHER MEDIUM OR APPRECIATE THE OLD SCHOOL CONCEPT OF PHOTOGRAPHY LIKE INK/POLAROID OR OTHER?

I have always experimented with different art mediums. I don't ever have the time but I do enjoy getting my hands dirty with drawing, painting and calligraphy. I have a huge appreciation for film photography, and have a collection of old film and polaroid cameras.

IS THERE ANYONE WHO INSPIRES YOU OR OTHER WORK YOU LOOK UP TO?

I am so inspired by Annie Lebowitz's huge body of work especially the work she did for Rollingstone Magazine. I also enjoy the surreal high fashion photography work of Miss Aniela. Steve McCurry is also a favourite, his photos tell stories and he captures the deep soul of the people he photographs.

IS THERE ANY OTHER STYLES OF PHOTOGRAPHY YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INTO OTHER THAN MODEL/FASHION MAYBE LANDSCAPE OR OTHERS?

I'm really enjoying what I'm doing now with my photography, but am always wanting to improve. I would love to get out of my comfort zone and do some travel photography, exploring different cities and capturing life and different cultures.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THE ELEMENT EDEN BRAND AND BRINGING THEIR CLOTHES TO LIFE THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY?

The Element Eden story resonates with me personally, I grew up in the 90's along side the Element brand, and was inspired by the message the Element Eden told - that girls can forge their own path and achieve incredible things. I love wearing the clothing too, the Element Eden clothing line is always so well designed with beautiful yardages and quality materials that are perfect for me to wear on photoshoots. I'm so happy to be apart of the team to help tell the Element Eden story, through my photographs of the seasonal campaigns I want to help the brand continue to inspire young women feel free to express themselves and dream big.

Thanks Sami!

@Maravisuals

@Elementeden_Australia