Time to be an exhibitionist...

Over the past few months, I have been fortunate to have some of my pieces displayed in an online gallery called "Light Space & Time".

I used to watch all the Hollywood award shows and snicker when the nominees would say it was an an honor to just be nominated in the company of the other great actors. After having my art selected and seeing it included in an exhibition, I have a better understanding of what that answer really means. It is an honor to see my work displayed next to the creations of such talented artists from around the world. To know that someone has seen my work and deemed it accomplished enough to acknowledge as a finalist in a competition is truly gratifying.

Copyright 2012. Property of Leslie DonnElle & DesignsByDonnElle.com
This photo entitled "Dark Star" was highest finisher to date in an exhibition. It received an Honorable Mention in the "Animals" exhibit in August.
 See the photo featured in the exhibition here: 

Copyright 2012. Property of Leslie DonnElle & DesignsByDonnElle.com
"Stratum Sunrise" is featured in the October "Countryside" exhibition after receiving a Special Recognition.

 See the photo featured in the exhibition here: 

Copyright 2012. Property of Leslie DonnElle & DesignsByDonnElle.com
"Or Not To Bee" also received a Special Recognition in September's "Botanical" exhibition.

See the photo featured in the exhibition here:  

Copyright 2012. Property of Leslie DonnElle & DesignsByDonnElle.com
This photo, done in a style to pay homage to the incredible flowers that Georgia O'Keefe made famous and simply called "Georgia", was the first piece I entered in an SLT competition and I was lucky enough to have it chosen as a Special Recognition winner in the May "Nature" exhibit. 

 See the photo featured in the exhibition here: 

Election Morning

Property of Leslie DonnElle & DesignsByDonnElle.com
Election day arrives in Arizona.


New ETSY feature

Etsy Marketplace has created a new page for all the artist to showcase their stores and give shoppers a little insight into creative force behind the products. It is a nice way to drive home the personal touch that makes buying handmade items directly from the artist more rewarding than big box shopping. Of course, mass production has a place & time, but when you are looking to give a gift or decorate your private sanctuary, it is always more fun when items have a story behind them.
There are countless great artisans on Etsy! If you have never checked it out, I highly suggest you go online for a visit. (My favorite...the oh-so-fun & completely unique vintage clothing & jewelry pieces at awesome prices!!! It must be the artist in me, I have always had the need to wear something that I will not see on another person.)
Here is my page if you would like to stop by. I would love to hear what you think, so please leave any comments if you would care to...

This was the first photo I ever had published. It was only in the local paper, but it was enough to give me the encouragement I needed to continue to pursue my passion in photography.
This was a fun self-portrait on location with one of my favorite models!



Why are there days that insinuate from the very onset that the horizon may hold many challenges. The sun is shining brightly, the birds are singing, it is simply a beautiful day. Yet the air rests heavy upon my shoulders, like an oppressive cloak shielding my eyes from the warm summer glow. I know better than to give in to the cloud. In terms of problems that plague the world, I have nothing about which I can complain. So I forge ahead, tapping into my well of creative whims and make a decision to harness  the emotions. Instead of allowing the haze to envelop me, I channel the nebulous energy into a tangible emotional snapshot in the form of a moody photograph.  
Lonely Arizona



This male swan glided past me with such a resplendent air that I simply had no choice other than to watch in awe of his handsomeness.


New Arrivals Brighten The Season

These fuzzy swans herald the arrival of spring!
Spring is definitely my favorite time of year. While it may be cooler than I prefer, (I am a true desert dweller, I really do love it when the temps reach the 110's! Yes, really!) it is the optimistic time of year. It is a brief moment when all things are possible.

I know it is very cliched to say, but with the arrival of spring, it truly is as if a new beginning is laid out before us. The temperatures begin to climb so we all start to head outside. We trade the stale air of our closed up dwellings in search of the sweet aromas that have alighted on the soft breeze. We watch in wonder as the birds dance on air while trying to impress their potential mate. We discover the tiny blades of grass that have pushed their way to the surface. We gaze upon the emerging blooms as they unfurl atop the proud stalks that wave them like a banner. We explore the gardens filled with a kaleidoscope of colors with a mild trepidation, making sure to stay out of the way of the buzzing creatures who are staking their claim on each pollen-filled blossom. Yes, spring is truly magical.
A young sprout greets the day with open arms.
It's true. There are flowers in the desert.
A major part of the allure is the joy I get in witnessing all the quiet moments of new life that are developing before my eyes. I sit transfixed when the diminutive babies of the backyard begin making their first appearances. I'm not picky, I love all of them...furry, feathered, or covered in scales.
This little guy was too young to have any fear. He ran up to greet me as I entered his home.

It is difficult to see, but this mama was protecting her chick by shielding it behind an outstretched wing.
Mom stashed this juvenile mockingbird in the protective camouflage of the tree.
When it was time for breakfast, mom came back to make sure her baby would have plenty to eat.


Magic is in the Air

Prom is a rite of passage in so many young lives.
Beautiful dresses sparkle in the soft lighting as music fills the air. 
The soft scent of flowers perfume the air while the showy petals decorate wrists and lapels.
The sweet smiles radiate from the faces of youth and eyes light up at the thought of what lies ahead and endless possibilities. It is a magical night, one last split second of innocence. 
Art is such a subjective term. What constitutes "art"? Art is around us all the time; however, in our rush to get through our daily lives we often overlook what is right before us. I believe everyday moments are perfect opportunities to create a personalized memento that is more than just a portrait. When I photograph people, I want to take the time to see beyond the obvious, go deeper that smiles and capture the essence that makes the person unique. 
We surround ourselves with art in our homes that fulfill us emotionally. We need a connection to the art that makes us feel something. We should look at our need for art from a different angle. 
My question is why does that piece need to be generic; a store-bought trinket that while pretty, does not hold a special place in our heart? Instead, we should envelop ourselves in genuine pieces that we hold dear and tell all visitors who we are and what we we cherish.
When is a photo more than a framed reminder of the time we got together and had a picture taken? A photo that tells a story, reminds us of "that time" and is finished with a delicate touch that transforms it into art.



A Sure Sign of Spring

One of the most important days in anyone's life is graduation day. It doesn't matter whether it is from high school or college, it is a day to celebrate all hard work that has gone into such an amazing achievement. With the whirlwind of activities that surround the ceremony, time can fly by in a blur. This is one of those moments when it is so important to keep the camera clicking to make sure that no detail is overlooked or forgotten.  


Bring The Inside Out

I was recently involved in a “Portraits” art project that dared to delve beyond skin deep, looking for the true meaning behind the image. As a photographer, the goal is always to create beauty but a meaningful image should do more to draw the viewer inside. It should reveal a real person filled with palpable emotions. I selected just a few of my favorite past images that communicated honesty, pure of heart and soul.

Hollywood Noir  
Dark secrets, mysterious figures, and spine-chilling intrigue. Do you really see what is laid out before you, or is there something hidden, veiled behind the shadows. Living life under cover of darkness while dancing in and out of the light creates a perfect camouflage. A simplistic yet effective layer of protection from those we don’t want to let in. Why is there is a hesitation to reveal our true selves? It is human nature to want to hold tightly to what we cherish most: our true identity. Shadows create the ultimate mask. 

The teenage years are always complicated by divisive outside forces. The struggle to develop into a strong, independent soul is often a battle fought deep within, hidden from view. Getting to know someone well is never easy, especially when they often don’t even know themselves. During quiet times, if you look very closely, the two sides fighting to create one beautiful person will reveal themselves in a single instant. 

It would be nice to believe the old saying that “the eyes are the window to the soul” was true. However, I'm not convinced this is always the case. Do we really claim to know what others are thinking simply based on a picture? Are we, as the viewer and not the confidant of the model, simply projecting our beliefs upon someone else? I've worked with this model countless times, yet I'm still not certain what was going on behind the curtain in his mind. I am personally just grateful for the opportunity to capture the charismatic expressiveness of it all.

 Living in the here and now, being present for every moment we are given; these are lessons adults can learn from children. A butterfly floating along on a breeze is fascinating to baby. A dog licking their face can send a toddler into fits of laughter. The sound of a child’s giggle is contagious and evokes a smile from even the most cynical adults. It is essential that we capture these memories and hold onto them forever. The twinkle in a child’s eye is pure joy and exuberance that radiates from within, reminding us all of the simple beauty that surrounds us.

Photographing animals can be tricky. Imagine the situation from their point of view. A stranger comes in and suddenly wants to be their best friend. That in itself is reason enough to be wary. Then, the stranger produces a large unfamiliar object that makes noise while flashing a bright light in their eyes. The desire to run away can be overwhelming. I understand this fear and do everything in my power to make the setting one that encourages playtime while creating a bond of trust. When I am confident that the animal believes my intentions are pure, I start shooting and the magic begins. What made this moment special were the deep penetrating feline eyes. I felt as if I was looking into an old soul. She was not looking back at me; instead, she was looking right thru me.  


It's Friday!

It's finally spring. It's warm and sunny, and time to think about the weekend! Is it time to present a rose to your special someone and ask if they would like to spend a little time with you? This intriguing close up of a soft pink rose is sure to awaken their romantic side and spark an answer of yes!


Images from a gallery....

I am so proud to announce that these two Designs By DonnElle original pieces are hanging in a Chicago-area gallery for the month of March!


Happy Thursday!

Everyone always seems to wait for a special occasion to send flowers. I ask why?!? I think Thursday is pretty special all on it’s own. In life, every day you are blessed to wake up and get out of bed is reason enough to celebrate. And don’t forget to give thanks! And send someone special flowers! Even if that bouquet is “virtual”, they will still be touched that you thought of them. So go out there and spread some happiness!


Not Just Another Line

Las Vegas is all about clubs and we've all heard plenty of cheesy lines out there. However, in this collection, the lines are more literal, forming the shapes and and sights that create a unique tourist destination.


Roses Exposed

We are all familiar with roses. They are beautiful. They are romantic. The petals are soft and delicate. An eternal symbol of love. They have become the flower to give when you truly want to show you care.

But have you ever stopped to look at the structure of the bloom? The contours are so pretty, almost architectural in shape. They twist and intertwine creating a perfect base from which the bud emerges. I decided to accent the leaves and shine a spotlight on roses from another angle. My hope is that this series emphasizes a new way to see the elegant rose.