West Side photographer opens ‘What We Hide’ show on Smith Avenue

"Leah," one of the photos in Ellie Leonardsmith's "What We Hide" series.

“Leah,” one of the photos in Ellie Leonardsmith’s “What We Hide” series.

(from a news release)

Photographer Ellie Leonardsmith has been making photographic portraits for her project, “What We Hide,” for the last year and a half. She will release the photos Saturday, January 28 at 4:30 p.m. at Block Studios, on St. Paul’s West Side, and have the collection’s book available for sale. The project aims to shed light on the struggles we all share, but which are often not discussed or allowed.

“Participants were invited to drop the posing and presentation that come with the typical portrait, and instead to allow what is often there- but usually hidden- to come to the surface,” said artist Ellie Leonardsmith. “We are confronted every day by a society that tells us to be young, fertile, stable, thin, rich, white, and able to move through the world without needing help. These standards are simply unattainable. In undertaking this project, I am stepping up to lessen their power, and to share my understanding of our humanity.”

Ellie Leonardsmith

Ellie Leonardsmith

Participants in the project will be speaking at 4:30pm, with refreshments provided afterward. The event is free and open to all ages, though it is a gallery showing and some discussion of sensitive subjects may occur. Images and information about the event can be viewed at www.whatwehide.com.

“She may be the least manipulative photographer I’ve ever encountered. She has an rare ability to be with her subjects while taking their pictures,” said Marisha Chamberlain, a local Schmidt artist who wrote a forward in Leonardsmith’s book.  “Her theory that great beauty and fresh truth would be found by asking her subjects to show what they’ve usually hidden is proven true, page after page. In the unexpected frankness in her compositions, awkwardness, uncertainty or a sense of incompleteness are revealed as harmony. She’s achieved in image what the poet, John Keats has proposed in words, that “Beauty is truth, and truth beauty.”

RSVP via Facebook here.

About Ellie Leonardsmith Photography

Ellie Leonardsmith Photography has been in business for ten years, originating in New York, then Boston, and now on the West Side of Saint Paul for the last four years. Leonardsmith focuses on portraits but has also donated her time to event photography for local organizations such as the West Side Citizens Organization (WSCO) and Art on the Ave.  To learn more visit http://www.ellieleonardsmith.com, or call (612) 460-5524.

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