Brian LeBlanc (Tenth of Thirty-Three)
Every photographer in Ashland knows and loves Brian LeBlanc. He’s one of the smiling faces at Advanced Photo & Imaging on Ashland Street, where he has worked over 12 years. A master printer, he makes sure every image he touches looks like the “work of art” the photographer envisioned. When I was compiling my book on Ashland, Oregon, Brian gave me sage advice and put me in touch with other photographers. When those 33 contributing photographers were invited to hold an exhibition of over 200 photos in Ashland, Brian worked overtime at API to get our prints ready for the display. He’s as generous as he is talented. (By the way, since the exhibition opening on December 6 got snowed out, be sure and mark your calendars for Friday, January 31, 2014 from 5:30-8:00 PM. The Hannon Library is hosting a closing event. You’ll be able to see some of Brian’s images on display!)
Last year, my friend, David Rowley invited me to the premier of an independent film Vampire Camp, in which he appeared. After we took our seats, there was an introductory “short” that led into the featured film. I looked at one of the actors on the screen and said to myself, “No way! Is that Brian LeBlanc?” I glanced around the audience, and there he was, wearing a rakish cap, grinning at his onscreen antics. Brian’s perfect smile and charming personality have led him to a number of commercials and local films. He prefers comedic roles, which reflect his personality. Brian loves the humor of Louis C.K. and Jon Stewart.
Brian is just as relaxed behind the camera as in front of it. A graduate of SOU’s Photo Journalism program, he uses a digital camera–but he much prefers old film. The results give his work a vintage look. He has a good eye for detail and draws his viewers right into his images. Influenced by Wes Chapman, Brian is not afraid to look for the gritty, often unseen sights around Ashland, including alleyways and the backs of buildings. Brian’s striking black-and-white film capture of the back of the Ashland Springs Hotel, seen above, is iconic. He shot it from a vantage point most don’t often see. Brian often uses classic cameras (one such belonging to Casey Stengel of the Yankees!) and has been known to challenge himself to shoot a roll of film in 10 minutes.
Brian will have a brand new subject to concentrate on in May–he and his wife are expecting a little baby girl.
To purchase Ashland, Oregon and see more photos by Brian LeBlanc, as well as from all 33 photographers, go to the Order page of my website.