10 minutes with Jared Leeds

Interviews with Photographers July 14, 2011 8:47 am

When did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?

My father was an anthropologist and he used photography a lot in his work and for himself. Though I didn’t really pick up a camera until after he passed away, I think the seed was planted with him. It wasn’t until college when I started working for my college newspaper that I really got bitten by the bug. I fell in love with photography and completely immersed myself in it. I was on the track to become a photojournalist and that is in fact what I did for a number a years. I thought I wanted to be Eugene Richards or Sebastão Salgado and tried my best to emulate them, but over the years I started developing my own voice and now my work looks and feels nothing like theirs. 

 

Jared Leeds

Jared Leeds

Jared Leeds

What gave you the idea for your project Massachusetts Avenue and how long did you spend working on it?

Boston has a checkered history when it comes to racial issues. For a while I had wanted to do a project that looked not only at racial division but also socio-economic status. I was curious as to how Boston and it’s surrounds dealt with these issues. Mass Ave. is a street that I, like many Bostonians, frequent all the time, but rarely all at once. It wasn’t until I decided one day to drive Mass Ave. from it’s beginning at Edward Everett Square in Dorchester to it’s finish in lush Lexington that I realized this was a perfect vehicle, no pun intended, to begin to explore these issues.

Jared Leeds

Jared Leeds

Jared Leeds

Jared Leeds

Jared Leeds

Who would your dream subject be?

I don’t have one specific dream subject. For me, it’s when someone I’m interested in grants me access to their life on some level with no real reason to, other than that they really want to share something with me. I’m still amazed by how open people are. All you have to do is ask. There isn’t a better high than that.

Jared Leeds

Jared Leeds

Jared Leeds

If you could go back 10 years from now, what advice would you give yourself?

It may sound cheesy, but I would tell myself to be rigidly true to myself, follow my gut and stand up for myself, photographically and generally speaking. Oh and keep a list of gift ideas constantly so that when the time comes, you’re not at a loss for them.

Jared Leeds

Jared Leeds

Jared Leeds

Which photographers are inspiring you right now?

There are so many great ones, but I guess some that stand out to me are Alex Soth, Christopher Anderson, Dan Winters, Philip Toledano, Timothy Archibald and I’m always interested in what my early influences are up to like Eugene Richards and Sebastão Salgado. There are periods of time when I purposely don’t look at what other people are doing because I don’t want to be influenced by other photographers.

 

(Jared is based in Massachusetts. See more of his work, here.)

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