Deb Leal

35mm photograph taken in 2014. Badlands National Park, UT, USA

The coo of a FaceTime call answered sounds; a smile fills my face, followed by a laugh of excitement. A romance uncovered, as two friends from different circles are together in one screen. Taken during a two day stay in Delavan, WI in a journey back home to the Midwest.

Manual 35mm photograph taken during Leal's first meal out with friends in San Francisco, CA post-quarantine, 2021.

“Wear all white”, James Wavey cryptically requests of his creative circle in the group chat. On the night of the ‘Roses’ vinyl release at Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland, he reveals a flowing silver cape during his performance— a look picked instinctually, and ultimately a reverberation of the bright light he would bring. 35mm photograph, 2019.

Still life featured in Leal's first experimental short from the 'Limbo' series in 2011. This work was based off a dream Leal had in her youth.

Dr. Bob's 78th birthday at Club Deluxe in San Francisco, CA in 2019.

"Prieta Linda" reads script under the sitter's freshly healed portrait of her mother tattooed on her upper arm. Panoramic medium format photograph, 2021.

35mm photograph taken in 2019. Joshua Tree, CA, USA.

35mm photograph taken just before the height of the pandemic in 2020. Outside of Butte, MT, USA.

Medium Format photograph taken outside of Lake Merritt, in Oakland, CA. 2021

To be grounded and expansive all at the same time, Catalina & Ebony embody the sky. Earth & Air energies at play in this family portrait shot on medium format in Livermore, CA, USA,

Milwaukee drag queen, Karen Valentine, shares her salon-style homage in between sets of "Legends of Drag" by directors Harry James Hanson & Devin Antheus. 35mm film, 2020.

"Sugar" by James Wavey (featuring Keri Shewmaker) is a music video and series of still photographs written, produced, and directed by Deb Leal in 2019. The song is a real-time confession of lovesickness and enveloping obsession as visuals explore the meaning of devotion while instilling a sense of psychic divide. Wavey’s 4th album, “Roses”, cradles lyrical vignettes as it travels through decades of musical influences covering humankind’s favorite topic: Love. Staying true to the album’s DNA, Leal pays homage to Carrie Mae Weems’, “The Kitchen Table Series”; a body of work discussing the contracts of social dynamics, while also carving out space for women to hold conversations within the Fine Art world.

Editorial shot for tiki-noir bar 'Last Rites' in San Francisco, CA USA in 2018

In collaboration with award winning Bay Area Bartenders and Ford's Gin -- "State Bird Provisions" by Alfie Spears for Trick Dog bar in San Francisco, CA. Directed and Photographed by Deb Leal, 2019.

Cocktail recipe by Christian "Suzu" Suzuki in collaboration with Jagermeister. Shot & Directed by Deb Leal in Benjamin Cooper in San Francisco, CA USA in 2018. Inspired by art history and Jagermeister's logo.

“Black Witch Moth”, named after Mariposa de la Muerte mythology (and to touch upon language barriers suffered between generations), was a moment in processing the death of Leal's grandmother. Finalist at The Roxie's Mixtape #4 in San Francisco, CA in 2017.

Deb Leal

Deb Leal is an interdisciplinary artist using photography & cinematic practices to investigate personal bipartite narratives. Often through a metaphysical lens, Leal’s work seeks to pinpoint what is considered emblematic in an effort to exercise the enigmatic in different dialects. She received her BFA in Fine Art Photography from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and her work has been exhibited in galleries, festivals, and conferences including: The deYoung Art Museum, San Francisco; Connecting Perspectives, Consulate General of Canada in New York; LULAC National, Milwaukee; and has been archived in publications like Musée Magazine’s “No. 26: Spaces”, New York; “Vad Händer Nu (What Happens Now): A Feminist Anthology” Malmö; and “The Yearbook 100 – Yearbook 2021”, London. She is currently living and working in Oakland, CA.


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