Meet the French foto femme who is making low-fi look luxurious; Lucile Leber (@lucile_leber) is a true master of light. Her luscious and luminous take on the beauty genre lends the technical aptitude of a commercially viable portfolio without forgoing variety and, more importantly, individuality. Leber's images have a warmth that can be easily attributed to her unique understanding of visual language. In most photos it is the use off a traditional beauty dish for healthy, glowing skin. In others, it is distortion through a liquid for an unmistakeably beachy impression. In her recent series for Solstice Magazine, she uses a combination of flash and long-exposed backlighting as a roundabout means to perfect exposure that invokes an interpretation that is both playful and deeply personal.
Solstice magazine is an independent, submissions-based publication from the US and features a wide variety of fashion and beauty portraiture from practitioners both signed and unsigned. This editorial allows Leber to exhibit her experimental streak with extreme prowess. Within this series Lucile Leber evokes nostalgia through the use of physical and technical iconography. The use of small press-on gems is a physical means of representing youthfulness and childhood. This is carried through via the nostalgic yellow palette and the deep textures within areas of grass and hair linking the collection to the idea of disposable or automatic film cameras. The blown-out backlighting then softens these portraits and alludes to the dream-adjacent nature of memory.
The approach of these images is feminine in all aspects. Within the intimate angles and experimentational technique Leber disregards the confines of conventional attractiveness to uncover a more engaging rendition of the traditional beauty shot. It is no secret that the standard for a successful beauty image was set long ago, by men. The masculine approach to the genre can be defined in a few simple terms: perfect exposure, predictable positioning, and ambiguous albeit empty expressions. Leber's direction allows for abstract posing wherein the subjects confront the camera. These women seem to lean in and let us know that they are not the only ones being eyed.
It is not only in posing that we see how Leber's work demonstrates a diversion from the derivative. Lucile Leber flirts with imperfection through textured skin and tiny apertures. The discomfortingly sticky eyelid, cracked lids, half glares, and gappy bared teeth are sickly and surreal. This unflinching and humanistic aesthetic lends itself to a sense of spontaneity. To the viewer Leber depicts her subjects and self as genuine and likable. For just a while, we are lulled into the experience of natural and instinctive opinion of beauty.
With over 9 years in the industry Leber is a solid example to practitioners coming into their own. To this day, she works solely with cruelty free beauty brands. Her self-assuredness pervades her pieces as she refuses to compromise the curiosity in her creative process. In recent years she has been testing new techniques with some wonderful results. Her motion-blur outcomes are more than enviable and her still lifes are stunning. Her most recent projects make one thing abundantly clear; she is entirely unafraid to switch genres and trial new techniques. Lucile Leber is fun, fearless, and best of all she's only just getting started.