We had the good fortune of connecting with Hanna Leka and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hanna, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
I actually have a favorite part of a Bible verse from 1 Corinthians 9:22. A portion of that verse says “…become all things to all people…” and I simply believe that it’s one of my top mantras. Although the entire verse speaks of the ways in which to serve others so that we can bring people closer to our Creator, I want to continuously apply it to my creative life as well. I do not want to just bring people into my world, but to also discover others’ with hopes of showing them the truth of their beauty that comes from a God that took His sweet time on them. Through my work, and within the shooting process itself I want to not just make people feel valued and beautiful, I want them to KNOW it, or at least leave my mark in their life with the hopes of introducing a more loving outlook on themselves and the people around them. My photo journey is not just a celebration of my creativity, but an endless endeavor on serving those that are worth loving and proving their beauty to the world. The verse extends farther out than just artwork, but also in life as a whole; to meet and learn others, in a way almost becoming them, by stepping into their world and seeing the truth of their worth and beauty.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a creative all around! but mostly known for my photography. I am based in Southern California so that covers LA, OC, and IE. In the beginning, I was inspired by some friends from high school who did photography as a hobby, and for nothing serious, but I was so intrigued by it. I started my photo journey literally on my my iPhone 8 about 5 years ago, and on the phone I would just take pictures of everything that I saw. Even at the time, I didn’t think that I was starting a journey, I just did it because I loved to do it. My father not too long after saw the attraction I had towards photos and then invested in me by purchasing my first digital camera at the time (I believe I was 17 at the time), and he simply made me promise to make the money we spent on it worth it. Although I promised, I had no idea that I would still be holding the camera to this day. Getting to where I am at now wasn’t hard actually, for years I have been working with photography simply because I love it. It wasn’t until a couple months ago that I felt myself wanting to get more serious about it, which is why right now I have been more consistent with content than ever before, which can be a bit exhausting, but also very fulfilling. Along the way I’ve just learned more and more of what it’s like to work with different people, and because I am a people person, working with new people and making mistakes that I can learn from and new challenges doesn’t really scare me. I want people to see the beauty in themselves and in others. I love making people feel valued and I think without that motivation I would be no where close to where I am today. I’m excited about where this journey will take me. My hope is to gradually tell more stories through photographs and to show people the way God sees them in their beauty.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If a friend were to come for a week long trip, I would do half of it in Orange County and then the other half of it in Los Angeles. I we were to stay in the OC, I would take them to the best beaches like Laguna, Huntington, and Corona. If we have time, go to Catalina Island for a day or two. If we were in LA, I would take them to all the best known museums to look at some art work. There is library infused with a museum and record shop called The Last Bookstore which I think would be a cool spot to hit up. We would go to Venice and eat some good sushi. Also making sure to hit up a brunch spot like Republique, but also try to find things that we both have never had before. Finally introducing them to some of my creative friends, and maybe taking them on a fun shoot.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout first and foremost must go to my family. For being the people that have known me my whole life and who ground me to the earth, yet have always invested in me so that I could fly. They never put a lid on my abilities, skills, and career choices, and certainly not my dreams. I thank them for loving me enough to say that I should be able to succeed in something that makes me excited to get up in the morning. Shoutout to the teachers and professors that have inspired me in more ways than one, and to the friends that express their support and who give me constant motivation and inspiration. Shoutout to God for guiding me to where I am today and for showing me the truth in the beauty He creates.