Thursday, December 15, 2016; Daily Hampshire Gazette by Kathleen Mellen
Shutesbury photographer and organic cookbook author Leslie Cerier’s grandmother painted copies of Impressionist paintings by Monet, Degas, Renoir and Cezanne.
“Her apartment on the beach was decorated with her beautiful artwork,” Cerier says, “ and those paintings live inside of me.”
Like the Impressionists, Cerier says, she’s passionate about light, water and landscapes.
“My photography is a reflection of the peaceful energy I find in the woods. Living in the moment, I capture beauty as I click the shutter.”
Cerier, 63, has a varied background: She studied photography and movement sciences, has won awards for her black-and-white nature photography and is an internationally recognized organic chef and cookbook author. Her impressionistic nature photographs are in private collections, including massage therapists, body workers and hospitals that offer healing services to people with cancer.
Hampshire Life: How would you describe your photography?
Leslie Cerier: Many of my photographs are printed on canvas, giving them a painting-like quality. The play of light and peak color in nature is very soothing. All of my images were created outdoors with natural sunlight. No filters, no computer manipulation were utilized. The images can be looked at from different angles. There is no one right way to explore them.
Indian Feather by Leslie Cerier, the natural foam pattern Leslie found in a shallow stream whilie hiking on a trail near her home in Shutesbury.
H.L. When did you turn to organic cooking?
L.C.: In 1985, when my father died of a brain tumor, I gave up photography, avoided toxic darkrooms and photographic chemicals. I turned my creative attention from photography to organic cooking for health and vitality; cooking for folks with cancer.
Then, in 2004, I returned to photography with a great point-and-shoot digital camera.
H.L.: What is your creative process like?
L.C.: Most of these photographs are taken within walking distance of my home and are a celebration of New England seen through the eye of my heart. When I take my camera into the woods, I feel my connection with the forest. It’s like meditating — a way to get back to my own true nature. The sun calls me to a particular spot and I click the shutter when I see that rich, afternoon light … dancing light.
H.L.: How do you know you’re on the right track?
L.C.: I feel so present in the moment that everything vibrates and shines. These photographs are about sunlight. I see perfection in nature — patterns — artistic jewels that reveal themselves.
H.L.: What do you do when you get stuck?
L.C.: Take a break. Practice patience. Know that inspiration will return, along with the right light.
For more information about Leslie Cerier’s photography, visit https://www.lesliecerier.com/environmentalism-and-photography/photos
chm.lesliecerier.com/environmentalism-and-photography. For information about The Organic Gourmet, visit chm.lesliecerier.com
All Photos of Leslie Cerier by Hampshire Life Staff Photographer Sarah Crosby