A Mouth Full of Sun

When in 2012 the young American photographer Grace Ann Leadbeater left the area where she grew up in Florida, she got what she longed for since she first sensed that there was a whole – colder – world out there to be discovered. That doesn’t mean Leadbeater is free of nostalgia whenever she stays away too long, sometimes longing for times long gone and left behind, or at least the romanticized abstraction of what once was. And it might just be this emotion which urges her to document it whenever she comes home for holidays or family events, despite the fact of growing more restless with every rendez-vouz. Out of these explorations of her real feelings towards the land she grew up in with her medium format camera and motivated by a combination of nostalgic feelings with a serious portion of feeling unheimlich, she created the beautiful series ‘A Mouthful of Sun’. The images with a remarkable color palette show a Florida very different from the eclectic cliche images, reminding us of the unpolished cinema of Gus van Sant and the photography of Estelle Hanani. Finding beauty in the ordinary and even the uncomfortable, always being honest. We love this almost tangible series showing the talent of the photographer, perfectly translating emotion into image.

Growing up in Central Florida always made me feel anxious. I don’t belong here, my ten-year-old self would whine into my Composition Notebooks. Northern states were romanticized to no end and I tried to spread my sentiments to all the neighborhood kids. They didn’t care. And every time the weather leapt into a sauna, I would plead with God to bring me a cold front. Anything but this, really.

When I do come home, most of the spaces I feel myself drawing toward are those inhabited by the ones I love, whether they are occupying them or once were. It may be an imprint in a pillow or five seconds of bathing in the sunlight. Either way, it feels vital to savor it. I relish in their pasts and beg for their futures.

These people are what cause me to come back, to search for something more again and again. But isn’t it always that way? But when I step back even farther, I realize that this is about all of you. And while the rain beats against the shingles or the thunder makes the cat in the lawn jump ten feet or clouds threaten to disturb the sunlight peaking through the trees, I try to keep a mouthful of sun.

Grace Ann Leadbeater is a young talented American-Canadian photographer and writer born in 1991, who resides on the East Coast. She received her BFA in Photography with a minor in Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA. While attending, she completed her senior thesis in Lacoste, France. Her work investigates the parallels within public and private spaces. She’s also a ceramicist and tries to stray away from learned words.

For more information and work by Grace see here.