The photography of Leigh Ledare (b. 1976) explores human relationships, social taboos, and the complexity of contemporary culture through images that are often disconcerting or provocative. Many of his works—featuring images of family, friends, ex-lovers, and art collectors—tell a personal narrative and draw from his own complicated relationships. His first, and perhaps most well-known series of work was “Pretend You’re Actually Alive” (2008), photographs of his mother posing nude or having sex with a boyfriend juxtaposed with more poignant portraits of her and old family snapshots. Ledare cites his early interest in psychology and sociology, a result of his grandfather’s teachings, as a foundation for the way in which his work addresses how people navigate social situations and respond to larger societal structures. Ledare began his career as an assistant to Larry Clark, and the influence of Clark is evident in the way that Ledare also grapples with important social issues despite their shocking or provocative nature. Ledare has exhibited widely, including solo exhibitions at WIELS Centre d’art contemporain, Brussels (2012); The LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies, New York (2012); The Box, Los Angeles (2012); Pilar Corrias Gallery, London (2010); The Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, Moscow (2010); Les Rencontres de Arles, Arles (2009); Rivington Arms, New York (2008); Andrew Roth Gallery, New York (2008); and group shows at the International Center of Photography, New York (2008) and the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2008), among many others.
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