Bob Leonard is a street photographer based in New York City.
Armed with an iPhone, Leonard created a series of captivating portraits on the New York City subway and posted the images on Facebook. “I’m in a public space doing what I've been doing for years as a street photographer. Now I’m armed with technology that allows me to be inconspicuous and share my images with a broader audience online,” said Leonard. “Am I being intrusive? Sure.”
“Yet, we are being photographed or videotaped constantly. The moment you step out of your home, your privacy is over. Your image is being captured by security cameras but also by tourists wandering through Times Square.”
This concept continued with a series of portraits taken in the elevator of a office building in Manhattan.
Over many months, Leonard observed visitors at the 9/11 Memorial taking photos of each other using conventional cameras and cell phones. Portraits. Group shots. Selfies. All posted on Facebook for the gang back home. His takeaway is that the memorial is a failure as a contemplative, introspective space. Yet the larger issue here is the overarching need for individuals to document almost every moment of their lives even in what many may consider are inappropriate situations.
Other fine-art work had been centered on observations of color and shape.
The Urban Hieroglyphs/Looking Closely series explored the ubiquitous spray-painted markings that identify the location of an intricate network of utilities that lie just under the surface of our vast city.
The resulting prints dislodge the symbols from their context, transforming these mundane elements into a series of abstractions presented as a tetraptych, an arrangement of four images in a two-by-two format.
“While these modern hieroglyphs have their practical use, I was attracted to the striking colors and fascinating shapes,” said Leonard, “I'm interested in the energetic flow among the four images; some undulating, organic and serene while others represent conflict, dynamism and energy.” Leonard continues to explore the tetraptych format in forthcoming projects.
Editorial work also includes coverage of the People’s Climate March in New York City, September 21, 2014 and the Women’s March on NYC, January 21, 2017 and images from a trip to Havana, Cuba in March, 2017.