|David Julian Leonard is an American photographer and filmmaker now living in Arles, France, with his wife Valentine.
Friendship and informal studies with internationally celebrated photographer William Eggleston emboldened his exceptional eye for color, while extensive work in cinematography refined his understanding of light.
Early on, Leonard worked as a grip and lighting technician on feature films with Oscar-winning directors and cinematographers Francis Coppola, Milos Forman, John Toll and Phillipe Rousselot. Leonard’s art photography then brought him often to Europe, with a solo show at The Photographers’ Gallery in London in 1999, and later exhibits in Scotland, Portugal, Denmark, and France.
As cinematographer, director, and editor of documentaries, Leonard delved into the lush music heritage of the American South, from his native Tennessee through the Mississippi Delta to New Orleans. With work on films about Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Fats Domino, and Stax Records (which gave us Otis Redding), Leonard helps tell of the legends that have shaped our world’s music.
Tender is the Light, his 2016 book released by German publisher Kehrer Verlag, reveals Leonard’s vision of photography as precious moments of stillness within the broad moving-image (motion-picture) that is life.