Thursday, 20 September 2018

Canberra's Newest Captures - Scott Leggo Gallery

We all love Canberra for the obvious reasons, the easy lifestyle, clean air, blue skies and the plethora of eateries and hipster cafes. But rarely do we mention its distinct quaint beauty which once it captures your heart, stays with you, no matter how far or wide you travel. No one captures our much-loved capital city's beauty quite like Scott Leggo.

Scott Leggo has been capturing our city's best and many other beautiful cities and landmarks around the world for over 10 years. His prints are beautifully detailed and bring out mother nature's best assets and showcase Scott's passion for the outdoors. His prints, which until recenlty have been selling exclusively online, are true works of art and are now exhibiting in his boutique gallery in Kingston.

The gallery is laid out so beautifully and as soon as you walk in, you can imagine his prints bringing colour into your home or if you're like me and love anything monochromatic or neutral, you will fall in love with Scott's crispy white captures of snowy landscapes. 

The man behind the lens - Scott, is quite the adventurer and a creative at heart yet his previous career of choice might surprise you like it surprised me. When I visited his gallery I just had to find out more about what inspired him to take the leap from corporate to creative and asked him to share his advice to anyone thinking of following his lead.

Scott Leggo Gallery - 45 Jardine Street, Kingston ACT

SP: You have been photographing and selling your prints online for several years now, what inspired you to transition into a gallery space?
SL:Having been an online business for over a decade, opening a gallery has always been an aspiration. As a photographer you always want people to see your photos as you intend them – in my case, printed large for people to experience on their wall. Equally, based on questions and feedback from customers and those interested in our products, my wife and I knew that many people wanted to experience our products first hand, and get the personalized help they need to choose what will work best for them in their home or workplace.  Creating the new gallery, where people can come in and see my photographs as they will look in their own home is part of our effort to create a better experience for our customers. We know that being able to see the prints in person, really helps with people’s decision on choosing wall art. Plus, now we have a physical space, we’ve been able to expand our product offering to include smaller gifts which people can easily come into the gallery and pick up for special events, birthdays, events and farewells etc. Based on the feedback we’ve received, it’s been the right move as everyone comes in says “these look even better in person than seeing them on your website”.

SP: You are a passionate photographer, however, your career background is quite a stark contrast from the creative business you now run. What made you make the jump and what advise would you give anyone thinking about making the same move?
SL:The short answer is I was in desperate need of a much better work-life balance and was looking for an ‘excuse’ to get out and about and get back to doing things I enjoyed rather than having my life dominated by work.  I have always had a passion and love of the outdoors and travel. Growing up I used to love the time I spent outdoors and over the years grew to love travel. Over a number years, a lot had fallen out of my life in terms what I actually enjoyed, replaced by work that increasingly offered little reward other than long hours and hectic travel. It all came to a head in 2006 and I decided that landscape photography would be a great ‘excuse’ for me to focus on reintroducing to my life the outdoor adventure activities I enjoyed as well as travel on my terms not that of my employer.  Ultimately I thought, wouldn’t it be awesome if I could travel around to these great locations and photograph them and come back with great images to share with others that would look great on people’s walls.  That was the genesis of the idea, and why in many ways I’m not traditional in how I came to photography with no formal training or ‘art’ background and why I’ve never been interested in shooting weddings or portraits etc.

Scott Leggo Gallery, 45 Jardine Street, Kingston ACT

For those considering such a move, or any move into small business, I’d strongly encourage them to consider carefully the business aspects of what they’re thinking about doing. It’s easy to focus on the freedom and flexibility of effectively being your own boss and being unconstrained by the frustrating processes and bureaucracy that can come with working for the Government or a large corporate.  But the journey to your own small business isn't all smooth sailing. Making the move from the safety and security of a full-time job to step away and being solely reliant on a small business is a big move, and not without risk.  Moreso, when you have dependents. I’d be lying if I said it’s always been straightforward and easy. That said, it’s been very rewarding and a great learning experience when it does come together. I’ve had my fair share of business challenges and lessons learnt, but I do think that it’s part of business. It’s important to always be learning and continuously improving. I’m a big believer in the notion of test and adjust. This means being prepared to take some risks to trial and see what works. You have to however quickly move on when something isn't working and try something else. If my time in the Air Force taught me anything it’s in the value of planning and preparation and how this actually enables you to be more agile and flexible as the situation demands it. 

SP: Your photographs showcase some of Canberra’s most iconic and beautiful landmarks, what are some of the other places can we expect to see featured in your pieces?
SL:I have photos from every state of Australia, but the Australian Alps are one of my favourite locations. Consequently, I’ve got photographs captured of winter sunrises over Mount Kosciusko as the result of snow camping backcountry in the middle of winter. Despite my love of snow and the alps, there’s plenty of other photographs ranging from desert images from Central Australia and rainforest waterfalls. Of course, there’s also a collection from Canberra and region as well. Australia is such an incredibly diverse continent and it’s great to be able to showcase this not just in our online gallery but in person here in Canberra. There’s plenty more to explore however, so I’m constantly updating the collection with new and different photographs from around Australia.

Scott Leggo

SP: What is it about photography that makes you share your passion with others?
SL:The more I travel it’s hard to miss the impact of mankind on the state of the environment and the pressures that an ever-growing population place on our natural world. With a deep empathy for the natural world, it is my hope that my wilderness landscape images, in particular, convey in part what I feel very strongly about: that we need to preserve the few wild, untouched places remaining in the world and protect our precious wildlife and natural resources. Attempting to make a difference through my business is also important to me. It is my hope that not only can we build a standout Canberra business through our gallery in Kingston, but also showcase the beauty and diversity of Australia to a wide variety of people that may not yet have travelled to many of the places I have photographed. In this was way, and other activities, I hope our business can make a small but positive impact to the world we all live in.

My favourite print  (middle)- The Snow Gum by Scott Leggo

SP: Lastly, where can we find you?
SL:In-store: Scott Leggo Gallery, 45 Jardine Street, Kingston. We’re open 7 days a week. If you’re sitting in Green Square enjoying a coffee, breakfast or lunch we’re directly across the road!

Thanks to Scott for showing me around his gallery and to Social 9 for the invite.


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