Deb Leal

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

"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.

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,

Directed & Shot by Deb Leal for the series "Corners" in collaboration with Filmmaker Syra McCarthy in 2019. Oakland, CA, USA.

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

Digital Photograph taken in 2011 for Leal's senior thesis. Milwaukee, WI USA.

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

“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.

Director & Photographer Deb Leal in collaboration with Ford's Gin and Oakland tiki bar, The Kon-tiki.

Artists Meryl Pataky & Allie Felton pulling tarot cards among their work at Pt. 2 Gallery in Oakland, CA, USA. They pulled "The Lovers".

Photograph of Meryl Pataky & Allie Felton's collaborated piece, "The Hot Seat" for their show, "A Modern Guilt" at Pt. 2 Gallery in Oakland, CA.

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.

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

Deb Leal

Deb Leal is a multidisciplinary artist using photography & cinema to investigate degrees of adaption between the Erotic and the Devout. Understanding shame to be a tactic of control, Leal taps into private moments that feel carnally playful or discordant. Her investigations often jar moments that float in limbo, as baroque technique is applied to a modern scene. From the hushed presence of Curanderismo in her youth, to witnessing the large-scale suppression of sexuality– a similar syncretism is explored as an act of reclamation and healing while simultaneously addressing hardships passed between generations. 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 “Book & Job Gallery: Find Rangers Magazine vol. 23”, San Francisco; and “Vad händer nu (What Happens Now): A Feminist Anthology” Malmö, Sweden. She is currently living and working in Oakland, CA.

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