It’s hard to talk about one of your own and not be biased. Especially when you’re talking about Austin Fusion photographer Phillip Leach. The term supermom has been coined to describe the woman that works full-time and takes care of the children while managing a household. But what do you call a man that is part owner of an air conditioning business, helps out at home with cooking meals and raising children, yet still has time to set up photo shoots with models, make-up artists, and hair and wardrobe stylists?
You call him Phillip Leach, family man and photographer extraordinaire. He can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and take a tantalizing picture while he’s at it.
In celebration of our October posting, we asked Phillip to create some images depicting two of our editor’s favorite scary stories. Bloody Mary and La LLorona (Google that one).
If you’ve seen his work over the last couple of years, you’ll notice his style has evolved from family photos to fashion, to provocative, experimental portraits. In the last year alone opportunities have presented themselves, leading to greater opportunities locally and internationally. Not bad for the business man and part-time photographer from the burbs. If it were up to him, he’d probably shoot at least three nights a week and although he has a very supportive wife, Aimee, there’s got to be time for family.
So, by managing his photo time and limiting his shoots to work around his family life, he can be more selective on who, when, and what he wants to shoot. It’s still as he says, “just a hobby,” but he’s by no means an amateur. “I’ve met a lot of really interesting people and I found that Austin is a really small community of photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, models and wardrobe stylists,” Leach says. “There are those of us that play around and maybe want to make it a living or want to keep it a hobby, and there are the professional photographers that do it day in and day out. Three-and-a-half years ago when I started this, I thought this group was huge. No way would I ever be able to get my foot in the door. Now I’m right in the middle of it.”
It’s been a lot of time and hard work and even though it is a hobby, it’s something he takes very seriously. He’s continuing to refine his art and even with a busy schedule he doesn’t plan to stop evolving. He’s even become a mentor to none other than his wife, Aimee, and helps her with her new photography endeavors.
At home, right after dinner clean-up and amidst cries for “dada” from upstairs, Austin Fusion Magazine had the chance to sit down with Phillip to ask a few more questions.
AFM: What was your inspiration to start photography?
PL: When my first son was born, I bought a camera and started taking pictures of family, but then life happened. Kids and work got busy and I put it down and never picked back up. Then about 10 years later with my second son, my wife suggested I start taking some pictures. I got a great deal on a really nice camera and started playing around with it a bit. I started with family photos but when my neighbor took up photography and set up some photo shoots, she asked me to join in. It was the first time I shot someone with lights, backdrops, etc., and man I was hooked.
AFM: How have you worked on refining your art?
PL: Almost everything that I’ve learned about photography has been through internet tutorials and YouTube. So, I really haven’t had a lot of training and there’s still a lot to learn. But I’m slowly learning and trying new things. I don’t want to be stuck doing just one type of photography. I want my photos to be recognizable but not the same.
AFM: What do you want to do next? Where do you want to be?
PL: My wife Aimee pointed out to me, “Remember when you first started, your goal was to be published in one magazine – one local magazine? And now, look at you. You’ve been published in five local magazines, and one international publication, twice. You’re listed as a contributing photographer in that publication (Charlatan Magazine), and you’re shooting for Austin Fusion. You’re constantly meeting people and your stuff is being published.”
I realized she was right. I had set goals for myself, and I’ve met them, so now what? Well, now, (he grins) I’m shooting just for me.
Written by Jessica Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Photo of Phillip Leach by John Paul Wilson
Bloody Mary and La LLorona: Models – Rachel Vest and Nicole Marie Verscshoor, MUAH / special efffects – Lecia Bates Harkins, Photos Phillip Leach