If you stop what you’re doing now and visit lesliespurlock.com/bio/, you’ll see a banner saying “Hi, I’m Leslie. A photojournalist from Texas.” Next to an image of Leslie and her beautiful smile against an orange and warm sunset on the side of the road. It’s a peaceful image alongside a simple and brief understatement. Leslie is much more than a photojournalist from Texas and if you keep on reading her bio, you will (like I did, months ago) be mesmerized by how brave, fearless and talented she is.
Leslie has been amidst uprisings, natural disasters, under gunfire and riots, seeking to be in the middle of action, where history was being written, live. However, she also holds an acute sensitivity for portraits and fine art photography, exactly the opposite approach to her wild, untamed work as a documentary and photojournalism photographer.
Leslie is a kaleidoscope and it’s an enormous pleasure for ArtPacks to have her on the Genesis drop.
Leslie, you’re a remarkable artist, we all know that, but you’re also multi skilled. Your portfolio goes from Storms to Weddings, Portraits to Riots, no barriers at all. How does it work? Tell us a bit about yourself and your art.
Honestly, my passion has always been photojournalism and documentary work, but it’s usually self funded; so, to keep my creative juices flowing, I do creative shoots. I began doing those when I had to make a living and photograph weddings. Weddings were to pay the bills since I was a single mom, and the other, including storm photography, was my creative outlet. I also found that I love being out in Mother Nature and photographing the power of storms.
I began my photojournalism journey in 2003/2004 when I took off for Haiti. I went there 6 times, lived with rebels when they ousted Aristide and took over the country, briefly. Covered a flood that killed over 3000 people, and I also photographed voodoo. I had to stop photojournalism for a bit when I got a divorce, but would do it every now and then when I had a chance. After getting remarried, I got back into photojournalism in 2020, and I covered 17 protests across the US, and 4 major hurricanes. When I discovered NFTs, I started doing a lot more documentary work, covering other cultures that are dying out.
Exploring different styles of photography requires not only talent but an organized, open and unbiased mind. What’s your creation process for different types of work and what inspires you?
Well, I won’t say I’m the most organized person lol. I’m very spur of the moment, but I do have some long term plans in terms of documentary work. For my creative shoots, I usually plan them a week or two in advance. I’m currently working on a creative shoot for ArtPacks. I’m working with the model, we are going through and purchasing wardrobe selections, booked a studio, and discussing different aspects of the shoots. I’ve also had to arrange a makeup artist. This is how my creative shoots usually go.
What inspires me? Hmm, every day life inspires me! I’m also inspired by music and movies, and I draw inspiration every day from all the artists that come across my Twitter feed on a daily basis.
When you’re depleted of inspiration, what drives you to keep going?
I would say my husband and other artists drive me to keep going.
What’s your earliest memory related to art?
You know, I was never really into art when I was young. I never really appreciated it until I decided to go into photography, and I also did a brief job at an art gallery where I was exposed to Salvador Dali. I fell in love with his work!
When and how did you learn about NFTs?
I learned about NFTs around August of 2021, thanks to a couple of storm chasers that were into them. I didn’t really understand what they were, but in Nov. 2021, I decided I needed to figure it out, and I dove right in.
How do you think NFTs are changing the way we experience art?
I think it is opening up the world of art to so many people worldwide that don’t get a chance to go to galleries, and they aren’t normally exposed to the art world. We can now view and even own such great work online!
What’s your ultimate goal as an artist?
Well, my ultimate goal as an artist would be to travel the world and photograph indigenous tribes, and I want to continue in photojournalism. I would LOVE to win a Pulitzer someday. I also want to open up a non profit at some point, since I’m a humanitarian first and foremost.
Leslie we can’t thank you enough for your dedication to your craft, the space and uplifting other artists. We at ArtPacks are honored to have you among our artists!