Interview with Fogo Island Photo Book Creator Leela Orr

I love meeting new people, especially women who want to make the world a better place. When I recently met Leela Orr at a local boardgames event, we chatted about our careers and were excited to learn we both were in creative fields. Leela told me about her Indiegogo campaign to help publish her photography book A Glimpse into the Beauty of Fogo Island. After exploring the Indiegogo link, I wanted to learn more about the project. Here is my interview with Leela Orr that came about as a result.

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Interview with Photographer Leila Orr

Indiegogo Project for This Photography Book

A Glimpse into the Beauty of Fogo Island by Leela Orr.

Hi Leela! Have you always been interested in photography? Please tell us a bit about this particular passion of yours.

I find photography very rewarding when I see how my photos evoke emotions as the artistic nature of the content touches the senses of the viewers. Then I know waiting hours and days for just the right light or situation was worth it.

Photography also allows me to be in the moment and to see more beauty in my surroundings and to have greater  appreciation  for nature.

Assisting others through photography is one of my mottos. I love learning, exploring different cultures, nature, and hiking. There’s no better way to share my passion than through photography. I’ve lived, worked and traveled in over 30 countries with a career in international community development and now photography allows me to explore from a different perspective. My most recent goal is to use all my photography as a fundraiser for various organizations.

I started photography a number of years ago. My ex-partner had purchased a lot of camera equipment and then never used it. At the same time, I thought so many wedding albums were boring “all the same posed photos” so I started taking creative wedding pictures for friends and putting them in albums for a gift. It soon became a business.

That was a risk! Weddings are only for a few hours, the photos have to turn out! I’m lucky they always did. After a couple of years, I needed more stimulation for my hobby/extra work and wanted to spend more time outdoors in my free time. Doing photography in nature is like a meditation, I am totally in the moment.

I love your comparison of photography to meditation. Now, regarding your most recent project, where exactly is Fogo Island?

Fogo Island is the largest offshore island of Newfoundland and Labrador, and is situated off the northeast coast of Newfoundland. One of it’s towns, Tilting, is known as the oldest Irish Settlement in Canada and in 2003 was designated a Registered Heritage District. It is also known as one of the country’s best-preserved collections of structures associated with the fishery and early farming in Newfoundland and Labrador.

How did the idea for publishing the book A Glimpse into the Beauty of Fogo Island come to you?

My idea to publish a pictorial book of Fogo Island with the goal of selling it to raise funds for mental health projects and heritage projects on the island started in 2015 when I was selected  for the international artist-in-residence program. My placement was located in Tilting. 

I soon realized the island was a feast for a photographer: the seascapes, landscapes, flora, fauna, the communities. In 2016 I  returned on my own accord  for 4 months  to become more familiar with the communities and to continue photographing for the book.

What will the funds raised by the Indiegogo campaign go toward? 

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