Leila Hawkins

Leila Hawkins

1st December 2022 – 14th January 2023

Artist statement
“My exhibition Walking into the Past is the ultimate expression of myself. It combines my old-fashioned personality and passion for historic times with black-and-white photography. My images aim to tell the story of how I envision the world, how I can imagine living in a different era.

A photograph can serve as a memory. Maybe that memory is a bit blurry, but if it still has the effect of triggering emotions and reviving past moments, then the purpose of creating the image is fulfilled.

I prefer monochrome images not only for the sense of nostalgia they give us but also for their power to transmit profound emotions, enhancing the feelings behind the visual story. Monochrome adds drama to the captured scenes, and I find it easier to read a picture without colour.

Through my photography, I’ve learned how to appreciate small things we take for granted. Visiting different locations and admiring and capturing the beauty around me has helped me manifest my freedom and find my peace.

When I’m inside my viewfinder, I enter a completely new and magic world. It’s where I feel the happiest. It’s a powerful thing to be able to capture a piece of history and stamp my persona into a photograph. Through my images I can truly express myself, and I hope people will visualise and feel how I did when I created them.”

Leila Hawkins Portrait

I’m a Brazilian photographer based in Warwickshire. Photography is in my blood: my grandad had his own darkroom, studio and camera shop in our hometown; my dad was an amateur photographer.

I discovered my own passion for photography when I moved to the UK in 2016. I was going through a difficult time and needed something to focus on. Moving to a different country was a great opportunity to explore with my camera and discover new places. I was so amazed by the beauty around me—coming to England I found great inspiration, and I’ve been taking lots of pictures since then. I shoot with both digital and film cameras, but there really is something special about film. I also love the iconic designs of old cameras and the magic of it all.

I’ve changed a lot throughout my photography journey. I’ve photographed events, made portraits and even did some brand photography … but soon realised I wasn’t able to express myself artistically in these ways. I wanted my freedom, and shooting commercially was preventing that. (But I learned a lot and it made me who I am today!)

And although my life is calmer and more stable now, photography is still my ‘therapy’. I’m grateful to have a very supportive husband who encourages me to pursue my passion and focus on my photography full time.

Photo by Katy Docking