News__ Nicole Lesser: Young Healers

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Photo by Sarah Bradham

Young Healers is a photography zine that introduces the work of one up-and-coming newbie to the DIY art world. Created and curated by Montreal's Daniel Pelissier and published by The Secondhand Projects, Young Healers works to save the face of tangible, printed photography culture, by releasing each issue alongside an art show. This month,Young Healers will feature twenty-two year old, Nicky Lesser and her collection, "Pubic Hair & Liquor."

Nicky grew up in West L.A. After enrolling in a photography class in her senior year of high school, she fell in love with her Minolta (which is the same camera she still carts around today) and decided to pursue snap shots. After applying to numerous colleges in New York--and one in Iowa because she was attracted to the cornfields--Nicky was accepted to Eugene Lang. She soon gave up on "essay writing and hardcore literature" when she realized she could "actually go to school for art." She started classes up at Parsons. Nicky began interning for Ryan McGinley and slowly perfected her craft by snapping sneaky shots during the McGinley cross-country photo trip.

Young Healers is essentially a zine. Did you read zines growing up?

I remember discovering Hamburger Eyes in high school. I liked the journalistic vibe to it.

How did you get involved with Ryan McGinley?

I was looking for summer internships my last year of high school and I had just been accepted to Parsons. I emailed him asking him about New York, told him I was moving there and at the very end, just asked if he ever needed any help. He wrote me the nicest email back about how he loves New York, and his experiences, how I should just get a bike and ride around the city, because that's what he liked to do. At that time, he was in NY and I was still in LA. He was on tour with Morrissey taking pictures, I think. Then a few months later, out of the blue, he wrote to me to meet up, and by that time I was living in NY. So, I met with him and it was really cool. He looked at my pictures, liked what he saw and then I began interning with him.

What are you up to these days?

Ha, good question. I live in Brooklyn, I'm working on a new project and I'm working at O.H.W.O.W. which is an art book store in New York. They just put out a book with Ari Marcopoulos and I missed the book release. I was sad.

A lot of photographers hate getting their photo taken. How do you feel about it?

I don't mind it and I dont love it. I will pose for friends, just like I ask my friends to pose for me. I don't really like it when people snap pictures without asking though. That's annoying, like party photography and stuff. It's annoying when there is a flash in your face.

What do you think of the party photography phenomenon?

It's weird and kind of superficial. I remember the Cobrasnake was really popular when I was in high school. I definitely looked at it, but as an outsider. I think it made me feel bad about myself, like I wasn't cool or something, because I wasn't on it. I guess seeing yourself on the site can be ego-boosting.

What do you think about NY compared to L.A?

NYC is a challenge, and that challenge is what makes it feel so good to live there. It's like I've earned it every day. I would almost feel guilty moving back to LA. because it is so easy. In L.A it is sunny every day and you live in the private bubble of your car.

Tell me about your photos that will be in this issue of Young Healers and your photo show in Montreal, "Pubic Hair and Liquor"?

I'm displaying 28 photos from 2007 to the present. A lot of the work is stuff that I've been concentrating on recently and then some older stuff. It's not really a narrative, but I think it ranges between different themes. The photos range from young boys, pretty boys, punky moments, to androgyny and nudes to girls and pretty scenes.

A mix bag of people.

Yes definitely. I think that's a huge thing I try to profess in my pictures, a mix bag of people, how everyone is different. It's not about any one theme, but about their differences.

Young Healers featuring Nicky Lesser launches with an art show at Off The Hook Gallery, 1021 Ste Catherine West, Montreal. Tuesday, September 28th 7-11pm.

All photos via: Nicky Lesser

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