Born in Salmon Arm, a lakeside town in rural British Columbia, Canada, Gaye Leggat chose photography as a means to see the world. After four years at the University of British Columbia, where she received a Bachelor of Education degree, marriage and the raising of two daughters, she pursued her dream and studied photography in the United States (Santa Fe, Portland, California, Seattle and Vermont) and internationally in Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Cuba, and Spain.
In 1978, while living in Scottsdale, Gaye discovered darkroom film development, sparking her interest in photography. She turned to colour photography in the 1980s and studied with Freeman Patterson in Canada and Robert Stahl in Washington. For the past eight years, her creative pursuits have taken her on workshops with Jay Maisel, Sam Abell, Arthur Meyerson, Susan Burnstein, Ralph Gibson, and Magdalena Sole.
One of her favourite destinations is Cuba, where she travelled with Santa Fe Workshops initially and met many talented Cuban photographers. Her third visit included time in Havana and a tour by private vehicle to rural Cuba with Carlos Otero, an acclaimed Cuban photographer. Last year her fourth visit with photographer Magdalena Sole resulted in a month-long solo exhibition in Scottsdale at the Cattle Tracks Arts Foundation Gallery. Her focus was portraiture, fine art interiors, and the culture of life on the streets in Cuba.
For the last four years, Gaye has mentored with William Mebane of Brooklyn. He has guided her through the history of photography, the work of noteworthy photographers and approaches to the creative process. This continuing mentorship has expanded Gaye’s knowledge and understanding of her own photographic practice including work on personal projects.
This year the pandemic has provided the opportunity for Gaye to return to her roots and allowed her time to reflect on how memory of her childhood environment has played a role in her visual narrative and focus. During these uncertain times, she is living on an island in BC on the northern reaches of the Salish Sea. She is working full time on her photography and in this environment of isolation is surrounded by forest, meadowlands, and ocean seascapes. Her current project entitled “Reflections” is a meditation on memories of childhood innocence, family, and connections with nature.
As well as at her solo exhibit in Scottsdale, Gaye’s work has been included in juried exhibitions at the Photo Place Gallery, Vermont and her photographs are held in private and public collections in the United States, England, and Canada.