My name is Lee Browning Ezell. I specialize in both fine art landscape and photojournalism, complemented by a variety of commercial projects as well. My work has been presented in respected galleries across the world, and I am available to hire for a multitude of business applications.
The purpose of this website is to provide you with a sense of the services I provide. Everything I do - my own fine art, a single commissioned piece, or catering to the media needs of a large organization - is approached with the same principal of quality over quantity. As such, I may not be the best choice for a small jobs with fast turnovers. However, if you wish for every aspect of your project to be thoughtfully considered down to the smallest detail, I am confident you will not find someone better suited to make your ideas look their very best.
Please have a look around. While my work has many facets, I have attempted to display them as coherently as possible. You can learn more about me and my process by reading further on this page, view examples from my body of work through the menu at the top, and of course feel free to contact me directly with any questions you may have.
As any good autobiography begins; from the beginning. I was born and raised within the small town of Arkadelphia, Arkansas in the USA where I maintain a strong bond with my wonderful family, friends, and the farmland I grew up on. I am lucky to be blissfully married to a beautiful woman from Greece, who is a brilliant photographer in her own right. In this way she constantly challenges and supports me as she provides her companionship, and in our travels between our respective homelands her family too has become as my own.
The first ambition of my youth was photography. Over the years, my course has passed from law to the performing arts, computer science, and finance – serendipitously picking up some incredibly useful skills along the way. Even pursuing my private pilot’s license has the bias of photographic purpose. My road has always led me back to photography, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have this as my professional focus in life.
My photographic inspiration, to be candid, began from nobody in particular. I was too young to recognize the identity of a specific artist; I only felt the power the visual arts had over me. As time passed and my obsession truly began, I appreciated the pioneering masters such as Ansel Adams or Henri Cartier-Bresson and studied their method. However, and no doubt as a result of a lifetime reading National Geographic, I can attribute my strongest aesthetic influence to the modern greats such as Steve McCurry or Nick Brandt.
From my perspective, it is not enough to simply photograph a place that is visually striking; to tell a story, a photograph must incorporate the deep threads of our world’s history for it to realize a greater purpose. This purpose should be for wholesome benefit of the viewer – to please the eye and stimulate the mind. This leads me on a quest to seek out the most interesting places and peoples of the world, not only to capture them, but attempt to understand their meaning as well. This is a journey without end, and my life is all the better for it.
BEHIND THE SCENES
As the old and often repeated adage goes, "It's not the camera that matters; it's the photographer that counts". While I certainly agree with this in concept, it does have a caveat in reality: a professional driver will most certainly perform better in a race car than in a golf cart if he knows how to use it.
To this end, I have invested more than $200,000 on the very highest quality photographic equipment money can buy. There is no single "best camera in the world" - but after an exhaustive research over many years, the long wait on special orders handmade from Germany, and a penchant for innovating systems down to the last detail in an obsessive manner, I now have what I believe to be the best in each respective category:
Linhof Technorama 617s III - Large Format Film - Landscape & Still Photography
The very best large format Schneider-Kreuznach lenses in existence, mated to a bulletproof metal body with shift capability, allowing for 100% mechanical operation in the world’s harshest environments. With an enormous film area almost 28 times the average digital camera sensor, almost 12 times the size of 35mm, almost 5 times the top $50k Phase One 100MP medium format digital back, or almost 3 times the size of a 6x6cm Hasselblad…the panoramic format allows a distortion-free perspective that no digital sensor can match - in a rugged package that goes where no delicate view camera could ever follow. There is literally no other camera like it in the world, and no other camera would open up the same creative possibilities in the great world adventures ahead.
Leica S (Typ 007) - Medium Format Digital - Portrait & Photojournalism
Widely regarded as the most coveted photographic brand in the world, I chose the very top camera that Leica produces based on two factors: unparalleled image quality, and an optical aesthetic no other lenses can produce. Sure, there are higher MP cameras out there - and they too will be outstripped in the future. If I want resolution, then I will seek a 250MP drum scan from my Linhof Technorama 617s III featured above. However, that camera takes a considerable amount of planning and effort to produce a single exposure...which needless to say, is simply not conducive for many situations. While other manufactures sought only the industry trend of higher and higher resolution (while corresponding sensor sizes are still too small to be practical due to the very nature of light itself), the 37.5MP of the Leica is more than enough for the intended purpose. I truly respect a company that focused on the actual usability of a fully weather sealed and portable medium format system and produced it to exacting standards of the highest quality. This allows me to not be limited in within a mere studio setting, but instead encourages previously impractical or even impossible quality to be brought back from the deepest jungles of the world.
Nikon D800 - Full Frame Digital - High Speed, High Risk, & Underwater
While the top resolution Nikon camera may not be in quite the same league as the Linhof & Leica systems, it does have one major advantage: speed. This camera type is built around a lightning fast autofocus (whereas the other two are primarily manual) and this comes in quite handy during certain situations. So whether it is a dangerous circumstance where one can't afford to risk equipment that can take years to be built again, swimming with sharks using special underwater rigs, or simply tracking an object moving past the speed of sound - sometimes it's nice to revert back to the conventional and rely upon old faithful once again.
Profoto B1 500W Monolights - Portable Studio Lighting System
I'm not a traditional studio photographer, in that I prefer my work to be within a real life environment. The locales involved in photojournalism are also inherently diverse. That being said, there are enormous creative opportunities that would be missed if one didn't have their own quality sources of light available at their beck and call. This Profoto ecosystem offers an excellent balance of quality, control, power, and portability to suit this demanding requirement. I can wirelessly control all factors independently for each separate light, directly from the camera's position. Powerful lithium ion batteries allow an incredibly long working time and reliable operation, with no dependance on electricity until it's time to recharge at night. Synchronization works flawlessly via high speed sync with the Nikon system, even more capability is provided by the special central shutter of the Leica system, and even the gargantuan film Linhof can make use of the lights by way of some clever adaptations.
Dual fully loaded 27-inch Apple iMacs with Retina 5K displays - Editing Workhorses
With more time spent building custom technology systems for commercial applications than I'd care to admit, I wouldn't mind going the rest of my life without digging inside another dusty computer case. That being said, one must embrace the requisite tools to perform their task. With both digital and film, there is no workflow in my repertoire that skips over the computer stage. For this purpose, Apple's new 5K screens suit our needs perfectly. With an incredible 5120-by-2880 P3 display, 4.0 Ghz Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB of 1867MHz DDR3 SDRAM, 1TB onboard Flash Storage, and an AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB dedicated memory – these beasts are ready to chew through anything we throw at them. Which is a lot, considering the multiple gigabyte file sizes involved with a drum scanned Linhof photo or a stitched Leica panorama. The Mac Pro was also considered, but RAW processing doesn't benefit from more than a few cores so the iMac is actually the faster and more elegant choice in this case. Also, did I mention the 5K screen?
F-Stop Shinn - Cinema Mountaineering Pack - Travel Solution
This is an example of how my wife (left) and I (right) might spread our equipment out between us on a typical journey. We pack far too much size and weight for a typical backpack, but the F-Stop Shinn is a new mountaineering platform specifically designed to carry large hollywood cinema rigs out into the field on long projects - and this suits our purposes exactly. Built with a full aluminum support frame, a waterproof rip-stop exterior, and a huge 80 liter capacity, it allows us to perform serious work in isolated areas usually relegated to lighter weight and far simpler setups.
DJI Inspire 1 Pro - Micro Four Thirds Photography Drone - Aerial Platform
There are a booming number of photographers specializing in aerial media, many of them exclusively, and I am certainly not to be counted among them. Compared to any other tool on this list, a drone is but a toy in my opinion - albeit a rather fun one. Large format film simply isn't practical as a remote controlled aerial solution, so in this case I would simply pursue the services of an actual helicopter to get me where I needed to be. When purchasing photography equipment, just as with any other investment, one must consider the rate of depreciation and obsolescence. At the highest end - such as Leica and Linhof - the value will be kept or even increase over time; quality doesn't go out of style. In contrast, I cannot imagine a faster evolving or more volatile sector of the industry than aerial drones. The Inspire 1 Pro can be attained for about $6,000 including an extra controller and 5 batteries, or in other words, a pittance compared to pro camera systems. However, I required an aerial solution for scouting locations for fine art, documenting the journey for photojournalism, and rounding out the services available to my commercial clients. I find that this newly released drone outperforms options that cost ten times as much just a few years ago. Coupling a best-in-class Micro 4/3 sensor mounted on a truly effective 3 axis gimbal, an overpowered and streamlined design to resist outside wind interference, and allowing a second camera operator to orchestrate smooth motion independent of the flight path - this solution takes care of everything I need short of an actual helicopter.