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friend of arq feature : alyssa lecompte

Mystery, travel, and the element of water dominate the pellucid work of photographer, Alyssa Lecompte. Living between two vibrant cities, she finds a way to embody space and home through her intimate snapshots, and invites the witness along for the ride!

There is a lot of discovery that happens when your photography is viewed but there is also so much mystery! We feel like you express (what we imagine is) so much of yourself through your lens, alongside a vagueness that allows the viewer to discover themselves. Has maintaining an enigmatic presence been a conscious decision, or is it completely by accident? 

Maybe a little bit of both? This may squash the element of mystery but I am an empath and that’s an intrinsic part of my creative being. When I look back at my photos it definitely feels like reading a diary from the past. Curiosity is my #1 fuel so the discovery element rings especially true. With that said, I think I tend to take photos when I am swept up by a feeling rather than a direct identity. Finding the sweet spot where the essence or soul exists brings me a lot of joy.

Water seems to play pretty heavily in your work. What is your relationship with water, and why do you think you are so drawn to capturing it?

I really feel like I came out of the womb with a deep case of the feels for water and they just never left. Water, specifically the ocean, was my first true understanding of duality in nature and I idolized that. My freest moments have been in the water or while watching people I love revel in it. I had originally thought that my connection was purely romantic, but a late night google binge once led me to an article stating that flowing water mimics the fetal state, which is why we feel so at ease while floating or swimming.

I haven’t dug too deep into astrology but it’s worth noting that I’m a Pisces ;)

There is a serious quality to your work that really resonates an introspective quietness - that is to say, your work radiates peace. Is this a quality that you find within yourself? And then, tell us about your silly side!

I’ve found a lot of calm within myself as I’ve grown up but it took some uncovering. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants and that can disturb the peace but I’ve found a better balance over the past few years. At the end of the day, I am equally attuned to the heaviness that life can bring so I often look for ways to provide a breather from the burdens. 

The silly side.. I 100% rely on play to get me through days. Absurd dancing, singing, having ridiculously long conversations with my dogs (growing longer during quarantine) and I love a good prank. Known to be a little salty but only for a good laugh.

You live between Portland and Los Angeles - such drastically different cities in so many ways! What about these cities nourishes you? 

When I think of these places and what they mean to me I always end up visualizing yin-yang. I’ve spent the majority of the past year in Portland, working on our home and it’s been a great lesson in sitting still - something I’m not very good at!

California is and will always feel like home to me. Most of our friends are there as well as my clients and the agency I work with. Los Angeles is such a wild amalgam of things that feel so stimulating and at times, completely intoxicating to me. The blend of cultures, the food, the art, the proximity to the desert, mountains, forests and ocean. A golden hour that could never grow old.
To me, Oregon is the definition of abundance. I’ve caught myself countless times just looking around this place in a total state of euphoria, feeling happy to be alive and able to witness the growth and lushness that this land holds. Sappy trees that smell like cotton candy when they warm. Raining while the sun’s out. The ability to jump in water no matter which way you drive. Endless hikes to magical places. The surplus of small farms. A slower pace that allows time to breathe it all in. I think when you feel this way about a place, it’s best to not question it but rather just bask in the goodness while you can. 

Travel is a huge part of your work, and your passion for deep-diving into “place” really shines - in both the dreamy way you present nature and architecture. In this very unique time of staying put, which of the places you have visited is calling you most, and why?

A few places wander into my mind daily but Mexico City is at the forefront. I had plans to go back in March but postponed due to the pandemic. The vibrancy of that city fills me up to the tippy top. It’s also a great place to shake off the winter blues. (the mezcal/sun combo helps tremendously)

When I travel, I look forward to parting ways with my ego in hopes of becoming a sponge. I love to learn and that’s the easiest way for me to get out of my head and into the moment. The desire to do that is definitely calling me.

We love your ability to capture the crisp clarity of the future while reflecting the haziness of nostalgia. Are you nostalgic? What time in the past do you feel most connected to?

I’m nostalgic for moments where I felt bliss but I equally look forward to experiencing those moments in the future.

When I reflect on warm feelings from the past or sense some nice feelings approaching, I always think of a quote I read in high school, “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” - Kurt Vonnegut 

Memories of my wedding day or the few trips I’ve taken with my partner + brother will always reign supreme!

Photos by Alyssa and her husband

Find Alyssa on Instagram: HERE

Alyssas website: alyssalecompte.com