Alexandra Leese Dazed 100
Alexandra LeeseCourtesy of Alexandra Leese
“I want to organise an entirely sustainable group exhibition, creating a platform for artists I admire to showcase inspiring work

Alexandra Leese

Age - 32
 London, United Kingdom
@alexleese
Alexandra Leese
“I want to organise an entirely sustainable group exhibition, creating a platform for artists I admire to showcase inspiring work

Alexandra Leese has an irrepressible curiosity about what it means to be human. “I use my art to explore the human condition, hoping to draw similarities between us rather than looking at ways to set us apart,” she tells Dazed.

The London-based photographer spent the first 11 years of her life in Hong Kong. Having experienced two different cultures from positions of distance and proximity has given Leese a unique perspective and, through her work, she seeks to break down what she sees as the socially-constructed barriers creating divisions between people. 

Depicting the emerging youth culture in Hong Kong and the diversity of masculinity among the city’s young men, her 2018 zine Boys of Hong Kong challenged some of the harmful prejudices she’d encountered about the “homogeneity” of Asian men. The following year, she published Yumi and the Moon, an achingly beautiful series of images inspired by Japanese folklore, in which Leese reimagines the centuries-old Japanese tale of a beautiful girl named Kaguya-Hime by mixing Buddhist teachings with her own, mystical vision of femininity.

She’s currently working on a film project to empower elderly people. “It’s about their important impact on society, and the things we can learn from them,” Leese explains. “I’m hoping to try and achieve this during lockdown as something inspirational for people to watch.”

How do you want to influence the future?

Alex Leese: By creating work that has a wider impact on society. By inspiring others to think outside the constructs we have created for ourselves and ask the right questions.

How is your work unique to you, or informed by your perspective, experiences, or identity?

Alex Leese: I believe each person has a unique way of seeing the world and receiving inspiration, so I try to stay true to that perception and shoot what I’m drawn to most.

How has the Coronavirus outbreak affected you, your work, and/or your community?

Alex Leese: The outbreak has affected myself, my work, and community in ways that I never thought could happen in my lifetime. It’s brought the whole industry to a standstill, and there are many questions without answers. Though emotionally it’s been up and down, I am trying to take this opportunity, like many, to find inspiration in what's happening around me, learning to find beauty in the mundane and every day. As well as reflecting on our bigger purpose as humans, and how we can change collectively for the better.

“I believe each person has a unique way of seeing the world and receiving inspiration” – Alexandra Leese

What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?

Alex Leese: I want to organise an entirely sustainable group exhibition, creating a platform for artists I admire to showcase and sell inspiring work, with a percentage going to a charity of their choice. 

The main focus of the work should address topics that I feel can inspire meaningful change in how we perceive, and therefore treat, each other and the world around us.

Emily Dinsdale

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