Lea Colombo on her obsession with color

The visual artist talks to us about making it as a self-taught fashion photographer, how the darkroom opened up her practice, and moving between commercial projects and the art world

From the off, Lea Colombo’s photography has always felt atmospheric, but in recent years her emphasis on colour – often intensely pigmented – and sculptural shapes has come to the forefront. Palettes may change, but more often than not colours will be dialled up and fluidly applied like brushstrokes.

Over the last seven or eight years, the London-based creative has grown a portfolio of editorial commissions for the likes of i-D, Dazed, Arena Homme +. She has also undertaken commercial print campaigns and high energy films for global brands like Fenty, Nike, Marni, and Versace, alongside her evolving personal art practice.

Top: Colours of My Body (2021). Above: Panconesi SS20 campaign. All images by Lea Colombo

Colour is at the core of her new project, Colours of My Body, a personal exploration of her physical form through wide-ranging hues as though layered with coloured acetate, and embellished with paint and wax. The body of work was recently shown in two concurrent exhibitions in Cape Town and LA, and will also be presented in a forthcoming hefty coffee table book planned for the end of the year. Colours of My Body is her first solo show, which might be surprising to some given Colombo’s thriving career, and on top of that, she self-produced the Cape Town edition with her small team.

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