Elle Jé Studio is the brain child, and the passion, of business woman Lesley Saunders. Whilst employed as the Commercial Director of a Global IT company she embraced photography initially as a hobby, but soon found the love of photographic art form to be all consuming. Based in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands, Lesley has travelled extensively for leisure, and for business, especially within the Indian sub-continent; here she has sort inspiration from what she has seen.
For Lesley photography has become more than a vocation or an art form. It is a way of life. Of this passion Lesley says iit was during her travels on business in India that she noticed the strength and emotions of the rural less fortunate women of India. From here, what started as a hobby became an all-consuming passion. The quality of her work was soon recognised as her photography was spotted by an internationally renowned raconteur, who is employed by the BBC in India as a sports commentator. He was impressed by the power and majesty of her images and encouraged Lesley to share the photos within India and elsewhere. From this derived the series of photographs – “The Real Women of India”. This photographic essay was undertaken in support of ROKO Cancer (Stop Cancer); a charity that empowers the Asian woman with knowledge concerning breast cancer. In 2009 these images were unveiled in an exhibition entitled ‘The Real Women of India’ in Bangalore, sponsored by the internationally famous Royal Gardenia Hotel; The UB Group and several other companies. All proceeds from the sale of photographs were donated to the ROKO Cancer.
This exhibition led to Lesley becoming a famous photo essayist and documentary photographer, and has now undertaken numerous TV, radio appearance and visual media work. She now has a monthly column on social photography for a leading South East Asia photography magazine, as well as being a regular columnist on the same subject within numerous Indian periodicals. When her schedule allows her return to India she still appears on Television and radio. Of her continual love affair with photography Lesley says – “Having travelled the world for the last twenty years, I have always sought the unusual, becoming genuinely excited by the culture of the communities I encounter.
My favourite area of photography is undoubtedly living, working in and amongst communities off the beaten track. As documentary and travel photography go hand in hand, I see my role as seeking the usual and in order to find the unusual. My duty is to capture and communicate them giving that moment exposure to a greater audience.” A change in personal circumstances has led Lesley to return to the UK, and embrace a new challenge. The corporate world had lost its charm, but the need to strive to ones very potential had not been lost.
As photography had now become her passion, Lesley has now opened one of the leading photographic studios outside of London and Birmingham. This venture, Elle Jé Studio, not only provides first class facilities for the professional photographer and corporate entities, but also acts as a fully equipped studio for smaller photographer who requires first class facilities; a one-stop shop for amateurs and enthusiasts, as well as a business support area. Elle Je studios, Nottinghamshire has not taken over Lesley’s photographic life, but allows her to continue to develop her passion, help others, and at the same time give succour to her entrepreneurial spirit.