One shot interview with Stephen Leslie

June 08, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

one shot interview with Stephen Leslie

What made you push the shutter button to capture this image?


I was walking through the cemetery with my dog. The corona virus lockdown had not yet been put in place but it was obviously coming. I was walking with another dog owner that I occasionally bump into and his Huskie. We were talking about plagues and the problems of sanitation and burial in big cities, subjects that he seemed worryingly knowledgeable about. It was a nice, sunny day, probably the first in quite some time but it was still cold, I suppose you could describe it as bracing. As we walked up the path I noticed what I initially thought was a dead body, remember we were in a cemetery. I may have joked that he was an early victim of the virus. Then I realised he was just sun bathing by a tombstone, lying cruciform on the grass. I asked the other dog walker if he would please hold my dog for a moment and I walked over cautiously to take the photograph. I was simultaneously hoping that a.) He wasn’t in fact dead and b.) That he wouldn’t wake up. I got as close as I dared and took the shot. As I walked back to my dog I was angry with myself for not getting slightly closer. Later on, I went back but the bloke had gone. I took this to confirm that he hadn’t actually been dead.   


Is this image part of a wider project, if so what is the projects focus?


Not really, it might become part of a very long term project on the cemetery as I walk through there a lot. Although they have closed it off now, which is annoying. I do have many, many photos of people asleep in public but this is just an easy obsession rather than a focused, deliberate project.


Why is this image special to you?


Because it’s unusual. You don’t often see people sunbathing with their tops off in graveyards. Or at least, I’ve never seen it before.  



Is there any photography books that inspired you to capture this image?



No, like I mention above, taking photos of sleeping people is a pretty standard photographic pursuit. I’m just following in a long line....



What camera are you currently using?


I still shoot on film, this was taken with my almost broken but just hanging in there Contax T3



Please tell us about yourself


I’m a writer and photographer. I write screenplays that rarely get made so I’m hoping to publish some books that people can actually buy and read in the near future. 

I have one book currently available called SPARKS which is a combination of my street photography and original stories inspired by the images. I also have 3 zines

recently published by Bump Books. The Schleppers, People Holding Dogs and Where Did You Get That Hat? Each title should be fairly self descriptive.



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