Member of the Month September 2022
OUR SHARED HUMANITY: WHO ARE WE?
As a child, I eagerly awaited the next issue of Life Magazine. It was my window to a larger world. Page after page beguiled me with images of people from far-off places. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, these images would steer me towards the study of cultural anthropology in college.
During my research, I came across “The Family of Man,” – a book published as a companion piece to the photographic exhibit of the same name curated by Edward Steichen. The people in the photographs were fascinating. To my surprise, I discovered that while I looked, dressed, and lived differently than they did, I could still recognize myself in them.
“Different – Different, yet the same,” — as the saying goes.
It is the recognition of our common humanity that drives me as a photographer.
Street portraits of children and adults are chance encounters. Building on a two-way trust where the subject reveals some truth, layers of pretense are removed to show a private face, an authenticity. The resulting images capture the spontaneous energy of a special moment and, like a rock thrown into a pond with ever widening circles, reveal who we are through our clothes, food, homes, buildings, ceremonial, and religious objects. I view our everyday objects and rituals as a sacred part of our being; they paint an intimate portrait of the human family.
“Same-same, yet different.”
Leba Marquez is a Los Angeles-based social documentary photographer with a discerning eye for color, composition, and narrative. Her photos, captured around the world, focus on the theme of “Who Are We?”
She has exhibited throughout the US: The Los Angeles Center of Photography, St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, The Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado, the Texas State University at San Marcos in the Wittcliff Collections, the San Antonio Central Public Library, The Center for Contemporary Arts in Abilene, Texas, The TCC Photo Gallery in Texas, The Los Angeles County Fair, The Photo Place Gallery in Vermont, and The SE Center for Photography in South Carolina … among others. There have been recent exhibits in Budapest, Hungary at the PH21 Gallery and Athens, Greece at the Blank Wall Gallery. Her collection of a “New Mexican Family” resides in the New Mexico History Museum Archives.
Leba’s work has been published in The Seattle News and has garnered many awards including from Leica, the Texas Photographic Society, The International Color Awards, and Clickers and Flickers Photography Network Her work has been juried into exhibitions by important curators including Sam Abell, Keith Carter, Stephen McLaren, David L. Coleman, Ann Jastrab, Phil Borges, Aline Smithson, and Julia Dean.
Leba was born in Chicago and moved to California with her family when she was a young child. She went to school in Los Angeles, and received her BA from the University of California at Berkeley, where she studied Anthropology and Fine Arts. Returning to Los Angeles, she became a teacher and eventually moved into counseling and administration for the public schools, ultimately receiving her MA at St. John’s College (NM) and M.S. at California Lutheran University. Currently, Leba continues her role as an educator at the California State University at Northridge. When she is not working, she often visits her son and his family who live in Singapore.