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Leon Vanella

Addicted to capturing and interpreting the world around me.

Job Photographer

Lives In Westbrook

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.

After a hiatus from exhibiting, I'm back and dedicating time to creating a new body of work.

Why did you choose Portland? A lot of interesting things happening in a relatively small area, great variety of entertainment and food. I moved to Maine years ago and have been wanting to live in or near Portland for a while. I finally got to it in late 2018, and I've been enjoying the vibrant cultural scene.

What do you like to do with out-of-towners? Get them hopelessly lost and then laugh. That, or show them this place has more variety and more depth than they ever expected.

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. Foodwise, I smile when I walk in the door at Asmara.

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? Petit Jacqueline's happy hour...or Vena's fizz house for cocktails.

What's the most under-appreciated place or thing in town? Asmara - really nice people, well made cooking. Genos, the dive bar with a stage showcasing all flavors of rock music.

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