Lele Faaleava: Capturing Portland & People

The young and talented Lele sees the world through her camera lens. It is obvious she has a knack for capturing beautiful things, whether that means people, her home of Portland, or anything else. She is truly inspirational, not just because she takes amazing photos, but because it is clear she has a passionate energy and a love for beauty.

Q: How did you discover your love for photography?
A: I discovered my love for photography in general when I was about 8 or 9 and I was looking through my grandfather’s old photographs and some of my mom’s old scrapbooks and I just kind of fell in love with the idea of documenting everything through pictures. I got into the more serious side of photography as my interest for art in relationship to fashion and lighting grew. And I got really excited by the idea of capturing beautiful looking shots and visuals whether it was people or places, etc. But I basically always had a point and shoot camera or camcorder in my hand growing up.
Q: What do you love photographing most?
A: I think my favorite thing by far is every experience that is attached with a photography-fueled adventure, whether it is a funny story from a friend of mine I’m shooting with or the experience of going hiking to get a scenic shot. I think I admire how photography is very motivating in itself and encourages you to get out more whether that’s socially or physically. So, by the end of a day I can have this really beautiful image that I’m proud of and have this equally as great experience or story that goes with it.
Q: Who or what has inspired you?
A: This sounds incredibly cheesy, but if I’m being fully honest I’m inspired by pretty much everything/everyone I come into contact with. I think the art world is so full of different ideas and minds that it’s really easy for me to be inspired by a painting’s color scheme or a descriptive piece of writing. Really, the more I see the more I’m inspired, but since I’ve spent most of my life growing up in Oregon I’m really inspired by it’s natural beauty and the culture that kind of comes with it. There are a ton of kick ass photographers in Portland and I look up to them for sure.

Q: In your opinion, what photo or shoot is your best yet?
A: I’d have to say my two favorite shoots I’ve done (portraits) are a set from this summer of my two close friends Aisha Lakshman and Dharma Esmat, as well as a more recent set of Senior photos for my friend Hailee Levias. They’re both my favorites because in each I feel like both of the subjects really look like they belong and are owning their space. All the textures, outfits, etc. fit really nicely together and it’s just pleasing to look at! I’d have to say soon I hope to take on the opportunities for nature shots in Oregon and venture into some styles other than portraits/merchandise (although I love it).
Q: What has been your crowning moment?
A: I truly don’t know If I feel like I’ve had a “crowning moment”, but working with Hovden Formal Farmwear, an amazing local business here in Oregon, and finishing up a project for their website was definitely a good and growing experience that I deeply appreciate. Getting to work with different concepts and fabrics and set ups was sometimes challenging but mainly very fun.
Q: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A: Ah, I always think of this question and how to answer it, but really the answer to this question is always changing. But for right now, I would love to go visit some of my family that lives in Australia or New Zealand. Both countries are so breathtaking and I would give anything to be down there right now.

Q: If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: To keep it short and simple (because younger me could’ve used a ton of advice),
1) don’t second guess yourself and 2) where you are right now is temporary but important. It’s really easy when you’re younger and in the grips of high school to either think too much or think too little. Try to steer clear of letting your actions or thoughts become dictated by worrying about what others think of you, but also try to appreciate the people and experiences within high school that will help you grow.
Q: What cameras do you work with?
A:  Right now I shoot with a Canon Rebel T3i, and I just switch out a bunch of lenses, but I’m currently looking to upgrade to the Canon EOS 70D or the Canon 5D Mark III, both are great if you’re looking to get more into serious photography. Really the whole technical aspects of photography are fairly new to me and I am still learning!
Q: Where do you want to see yourself in a year from now?
A: In a year from now I hope to have experienced the same amount of growth that I’ve had since graduating from high school earlier this year, socially and photography wise. Comparing myself now to where I was at only a few months ago amazes me and where I really hope to be a year from now is somewhere where I’m still growing, still striving to do what I love and still around people that help me be the best version of myself.

Q: I’ve always wanted to visit Portland! How do you like living there?
A: I’ve lived in the same place for about 13 years now and although some people get tired of staying in their hometown for so long Portland is the kind of place I’m really grateful to have grown up in and a city I love. Whenever I travel somewhere and come back home I always look forward to coming back to the food in Portland and just the natural foliage. (an odd thing to miss but if you grew up in Portland a lot of other cities feel naked)
Fun Fact! Lele says that maybe this isn’t necessarily a “fun” fact, but like most of America, she is an avid binge TV show/movie watcher and pretty much has a set of opinions for every streamable show. If she was any good at it, she would’ve loved to be a screenwriter in another life. Right now her favorite shows are The Mindy Project on Hulu, Parks and Rec and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
– – –
I’m so happy to have Lele on the blog because she is the first photographer to be interviewed! If you enjoy reading interviews like this one, check out the other ones as well. And, make sure you’re subscribed for more.
Make sure to check out more of Lele’s photos.
Also, follow her on her photography and personal Instagram account!
Start your week off right: stay tuned for a new interview every Monday!

post signature


Leave a comment

  1. January 20, 2016 / 1:43 am

    Thanks so much Allison! So glad you enjoyed this interview. Definitely make sure you check out the other ones, they are all so inspiring!

  2. January 20, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    This is great! Photography is such a male driven field so It's great to see some lady photographers kicking ass! Great Interview Jillian!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *