Bobbé’s award winning photographs tell more than they are showing. The photographer’s images delve beneath the visible surface of the world we see and provide a glimpse of a hidden dimension that lies beneath. Like a poker player that blinks, each image has a “tell” … a crack in the facade that allows us to delve more deeply into the psychology and inner workings of his subjects. Beneath his unflinching portraits of Women of Fifth Avenue, armored with make up, cosmetic surgery, and opulence, we see the frailty of old age and the specter of lost beauty. His beautiful portrait series, Neo-Burlesque perfectly captures the creativity and glitz of these performers in a classic studio setting and was exhibited in the spring of 2011 at The Museum of Sex (NYC). His wind blown and forgotten umbrellas in Stormy Weather remind us that even the shields we devise to protect ourselves from the elements eventually succumb to their force. His New York City Wall Art forces the viewer to deal with disparate elements that aren’t normally viewed together but do exist in reality.
His newest series, Half-Drag offers a unique perspective on the men behind the make up, while providing provocative social commentary on gender identity, normative ideas about gender roles, and the traditional male/ female paradigm. Not surprisingly, Half-Drag has gone viral, appearing on over thousands of blogs, websites and online magazines in over 30 countries including Vogue Italia, Huffington Post, ABC News, The Sundance Channel and MSN (please see Press tab for most recently media). He also appeared on the first guest segment on the newly launched HuffPost Live.
A fan of photographers like Steve Pyke, Garry Winogrand, Richard Avedon, and Harry Callahan and painters like Mark Rothko and Edward Hopper, Bobbé contends that his greatest influences lie elsewhere:
“I find my influence comes more from a state of mind fueled by rock and roll, Miles Davis and great films. A boldness and simplicity runs through my work. In all of my portraits, although the subjects vary greatly, I always direct them in a similar way; which I think reflects my personality. I find that the photos that might make me a bit nervous and uncomfortable to shoot are often my best.”
All images © Leland Bobbé