Andrea Leoncavallo

portrait photographer.

documentary producer.



When I was 12 years old my parents gave me a Nikon 35mm film camera and I was hooked. I learned how to shoot film and develop photos in the dark room. That dark, quiet space was so cathartic. I loved watching the images appear on the paper like magic; the light cutting through the darkness. It was the best meditation and solace for a soul weary from peer pressures at school and a family on the brink of divorce.

In college I studied film, television and radio with a focus in photography and environmental studies. I tried to find myself. I made some bad short films and documentaries that didn’t quite work. I failed — which was good. I worked as a grip and electric on feature films and commercials in New York City during my summer breaks and after graduation. I loved the excited energy on film sets but became frustrated working grueling 16 hour days for egomaniac directors who thought their films were the most important things in the world (side note: all those directors were men and most of the time I was the only woman on the production crew).

I wanted to work on projects that made positive change in the world. Projects that shared the stories of people who were underrepresented and oftentimes misrepresented or even ignored. So I moved to Washington, D.C. which at the time was the documentary capitol of the country. I became the senior producer for a not-for-profit documentary production company in Washington, D.C. and traveled around the country as a one-woman production crew filming the stories of survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, Native Americans living on remote reservations and Alaskan villages, children impacted by drug addiction, teachers working in public schools, FBI agents, social workers, attorneys, directors of social justice nonprofits and more.

In 2009 I moved to Portland, OR to build a life with the love of my life. He has faithfully supported me and my passion for sharing feminist stories and images. In 2010 I photographed a woman a day for one year and asked her what inspired her. When I completed 365 days I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to self-publish a full color 200 plus page photo book with a collection of those images and stories called She Inspires 365. The same year I also completed a round of IVF to get pregnant with our first child.

Now my husband and I have two wild, sensitive children and a loving dog. My business is mostly focused on intimate portraits of motherhood: maternity, newborn, postpartum and breastfeeding images. I’m trying to embrace the struggle: the struggle to find the balance between work and motherhood; the struggle to love my children while they are driving me crazy; the struggle to do this parenting thing on our own with no relatives nearby; the struggle to build a community that is supportive and loving and that gets us. The list goes on. You get it.

I want to work with you to create authentic images of your life. Call me.

Motherhood: it’s overwhelming, relentless, heartbreaking, transformative and yet magical. I always wanted to be a mother. I went into this journey with my eyes wide open. I was brave and arrogant and ignorant. Nothing about it has been what I thought it would be. I have been humbled. It’s brought me to my knees, stolen my sleep, changed my view of myself. It’s made me question everything and wish for solitude after all those years of chasing my dream of a big family. I know not all women have that experience. I now understand every child is different and every parent’s experience is unique. I also believe that we have more in common as mothers than we may have had as the people we were before our children were born. That brings me comfort and reassurance. Whether you gave birth to your children “naturally” or via cesarean, whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, whether your children found you or you found them in any number of different ways. Motherhood is a universal experience and one that should be honored for all it’s intricacies, authenticity, joy, sorrow and most of all love.

My work is about honoring the journey of motherhood. It’s all important and worthy of being remembered and cherished. The stretch marks, the struggles, the quiet moments, the present moment. Little fingers, soft ears, messy beds and homes, filled with love. Love. Love. Love.
— Andrea Leoncavallo