Leah Millis

Leah Millis

Based
Washington DC, USA
Born
Denver, USA
Status
Photographer
“Resilience is the most important skill you will ever learn.”

Beat

The US President, politics, breaking news, long-term projects.

One Shot

. Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico. Reuters/Leah Millis
Migrants, part of a caravan traveling to the U.S., struggle to cross the river from Guatemala to Mexico in Ciudad Hidalgo and continue to walk in Mexico.
“I took this while standing waist-deep in the Suchiate river. It’s important to me because I will never forget witnessing not only that day and being in the middle of the river with them but also witnessing part of their long, hard journey towards the US. It made me realize that they must be fleeing some awful things to be willing to leave everything behind and risk life and limb simply for the hope of something better.”

Profile

My first memory of photography is seeing my cousin taking artsy photographs of things that weren’t people, while we visited Paris as a family when I was a child.

I taught myself how to photograph and learned on a film camera and in a darkroom in an after-school class when I was 12.

I’ve always loved that you can freeze a moment in time. I care deeply about the human experience and have been drawn to informing the public using photographs since I traveled to Haiti while I was in high school.

I barely remember my first assignment while working as an intern at a newspaper. I believe it had to do with a playground or a park. I learned the importance of combining moments with aesthetics in order to tell a story and to draw people’s attention.

The assignments that left the biggest mars on me are the migrant caravan and covering mass shooting communities in the US. They both featured the strength and beauty of the human spirit. Oftentimes people in their worst or in difficult moments pull together in ways that still take my breath away and give me hope for our future.

Stories like the migrants and the long-term projects excite me the most. I got into journalism to tell such stories.

The impact of freezing a moment in time during an age where we are constantly flooded with video is still there. People still respond to the power of a photograph. With the public’s mass access to cameras, photoshop, it’s more important now than ever before that we have trained, ethical professionals chronicling history for the public for the sake of a functioning democracy and a healthy society.

Resilience is the most important skill you will ever learn. You cannot be resilient if you ignore your own needs and your personal family and community.

To a photojournalist starting out I would say to work hard, pursue subjects that you care deeply about, study ethics and do not do it for fame or awards. Find a mentor.

I respect everyone who has been brave enough to open up their lives to us journalists in order to further the understanding of our greater community and the world. That kind of bravery holds my highest respect and I am always in awe of it.