Jess Desaulniers-Lea

Marketing Assistant

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Growing up in Montreal, Toronto and Los Angeles, Jess's journalistic, portraiture and live photographs share a candid quality for the simultaneous realism and illusion of place, person or performance. From the total abandon of a musician on stage to the intimate back-stage moments between dancers, Jess embraces the intimate and often unforgiving proximity unique to photography. Her first photographic venture began in South Africa working with the Nelson Mandela recognized volunteer organization Dreamcatcher. Traveling to townships along the coast, she documented locals involved in the integral work of the foundation does in supporting economical sustainability in communities recovering from decades of poverty and Apartheid.

Over the past several years, Jess has combined her love of photojournalism and performance, taking the raw photojournalistic aesthetic into underground clubs, photographing emerging performers in music, burlesque and circus, which quickly evolved into documenting internationally acclaimed artists on tour, such as Lauryn Hill and Courtney Love, LGBTQ icons like New York City's Joey Arias and events like New York Times Talks. With an affinity for theatrics, Jess has also approached Cirque Du Soleil, including the ethereal 'Varekai' in which she had the opportunity to document rehearsals.

Recently, she's teamed up with VICE Media covering progressive and contemporary people and movements; her debut piece with Vice featured an interview and photographs of the world’s eldest performing drag queen. With a passion for fellow artists she’s also begun to curate for niche magazines including the controversial Archer Magazine, a sexual diversity magazine based in Melbourne, Australia, which recently received the UNITED NATIONS MEDIA PEACE AWARD in 2015. For Archer, Jess has sourced and pitched many of the featured artists including Zachary Drucker, a writing consultant and trans actress on Amazon's hit show ‘TRANSPARENT’. Continuing to seek new opportunity to explore photography and its visual role in social change and awareness, Jess was thrilled joined Photographers Without Borders  in 2016 where she works currently works with the creative team on campaigns, promotion and festival exposure. 

ontact Jess: jess@photographerswithoutborders.org

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