Portland, Maine

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Leon Vanella

Addicted to capturing and interpreting the world around me.

Job Photographer

Lives In Nobleboro

When I look through the camera, I see the world's intrigue and beauty and am compelled to capture it. Accomplishing that goal means drawing the viewer into the scene and inspiring some of the connection I felt. Visually, this is done first by eliminating elements of the image that do not contribute to the perspective I want to communicate. Second, my subject needs lighting and a fresh point of view that communicate something of its essence. Sometimes one must go to surprising lengths to find those two things, but the end result is usually worth the trouble.

In retrospect, photography was a natural merging of an artistic sense with an inclination toward logic and technology. Both my rational and intuitive sides get to participate. This act of putting my whole self into something is extremely satisfying.

I first took a serious interest in photography years ago, while still in school in California. Although I set out then to sharpen my skills, it wasn't until I arrived in Maine that I began showing my work publicly, and began to think of myself as an artist.

Why did you choose Portland? A lot of interesting things happening in a relatively small area, great variety of entertainment and food.

What do you like to do with out-of-towners? Get them hopelessly lost and then laugh.

Where's your "happy place" on the peninsula? Hmm, lots of cool places but to be happy I'd go up to Gilsland Farm in Falmouth.

What's the most surprising thing about this city? Ethnic grocery stores. I really didn't expect that, and I'm so glad I can find things like frozen eel, giant cans of tomato sauce, and exotic bulk spices.

What's your favorite indulgence and where do you find it? I have developed a taste for really good bourbon, so The Salt Exchange has become a triple threat with that, the food, and the art exhibits.

What's the most under-appreciated place or thing in town? Asmara - really nice people, well made cooking.

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