Projects / by Jeff Leyco

I have been busy.

I don't say that to sound pretentious, or ungrateful. I'm happy for the work, much of it self-imposed.

Currently, I'm at work on another short story for Charlie Brown (yes, that's his name). Last year, he edited together an anthology of urban fantasy noir stories set in Los Angeles, which ended up including my first published short story. I loved every moment of working on that one, especially since I got to combine a lot of my favorite things together: jazz music, noir, and fantasy.

This year, I'm at work on another story for his new anthology, this time set in New Orleans. It's a tricky subject. I've been to New Orleans once--count it, only once. But I still like to refer to that city as my mistress (though that may be the domain of Montreal now).  

New Orleans is a city that I've always found fascinating, especially in the post-Katrina modern day. Simultaneously, it's a city of great music, great food, and an undercurrent of political dissatisfaction and anger. It's a spirit that I'm trying to capture with my new story, though that'll probably become more and more apparent as I edit it. Draft Zero is coming along very, very slowly (no thanks in part to the Microsoft Word app on my iPad). But hey, no one gets to read Draft Zero but me anyway, right?

On the other side, I'm back in the photography game. I'm exploring the idea of portraiture more and more now, especially now that I'm armed with a Fujifilm X100S. It's a 23mm lens (crop sensor, 35mm equivalent), which makes it fantastic for street and documentary photography. For portraits, there is a bit of wide angle distortion that plays in, but the images look so great coming out of the camera--even the JPEGs--that I'm willing to forgive it for any minor flaw. 

As such, I've started a new photo project--Dancers in their Unnatural Environment, in which I'll be photographing Lindy hoppers dressed for dancing while they're not actually dancing. The first couple shots I've captured are run-of-the-mill portraits--I wouldn't consider them art per se, but I'm getting more ideas. 

Selena on the street, en route to the Vintage Subway Ride.

Selena on the street, en route to the Vintage Subway Ride.

As a dancer, I know there are lots of places where we wait between dancing and getting dressed. At events, there's the time spent in the hotel rooms getting ready, or waiting for others to get ready (sigh). At your local scene, there's the drive over, or the hop on the train. There's even bumping randomly into people on the street on their way to a dance you weren't even planning on going to. 

Gotta have the camera to be ready for everything. f/8 and be there. Unless you're indoors and the lighting's bad. So, f/4 and ISO 6400 and ... try to be there, I guess.