Hi, I'm Leia Shijie Guo (she/her)
I am a professional photographer and glassmaker living and creating in Moh’kinsstis (also known as Calgary, AB). My specialty is working with other creatives in the arts and culture sector: visual artists, musicians, performers, chefs, you name it! Through a combination of studio, lifestyle, and branding photography I make you and your business the star of the show. When I am not at a shoot you can find me in the darkroom or hotshop making my signature "vitreo" prints that incorporate the magic of optical glass in good old fashioned photography processes.
I graduated with honours at the Alberta University of the Arts in 2022 with a BFA in Glass, and am graduating with a BDes in Photography with distinction in 2023. Some of my clients include the AUArts Students' Association Show+Sale, the Calgary Horticultural Society, and CASSA Musical Arts. I have also displayed at both regional and international exhibitions with my fine artwork. On my off days, you can find me snuggling my cats Keith Urban and Geegee or cruising down Cowboy Trail with the windows down. Photo credit: Elisha Lozares.
AUArts Artist Fantasy Trading Card Series
Who says artists can't save the world? This photo-illustration series brings the magic of art school to life by elevating artists in different AUArts majors to magical DnD style adventure heroes! Each of the five trading cards features a current student at AUArts and comes with an additional info card that highlights a few of their class specialties. This project was a collaboration between myself and five of my friends to inspire first and second years, have some fun, and as we inch closer to graduation, to remember why we all choose to be artists: because art is magical!
The Problem: Mountain Grass Gallery and Bistro did not have distinct branded photos for their Bistro. Phone-camera photos did not do
justice to their healthy, hearty food options.
The Solution: Their new Bistro Menu is shot on a deep blue background that fits with their branding and showcases the fresh produce in their delicious dishes.
The definition of the word Caducous is: a premature collapse or falling of something before its time. Signs of previous inhabitation in an abandoned place, whether ominous or curious, are the catalyst for reflection and exploration. This particular barn spoke to me because I felt that despite its decay, it still held more secrets and stories yet to be told before it could truly be forgotten. The ghostly glass trail embodies the place’s potential to hold untold stories and turns an inconspicuous abandoned barn into a meaningful place that remains sublime through the passage of time.
“Like a chinook wind keeps coming back again…”
– Alberta Bound, Paul Brandt
The Chinook Series envisions Chinook Arches in impossible locales: in the midst of the Rocky Mountains or facing East in the middle of the city. The Arches are remnants of mundane wonder, of finding joy in wasted time. They follow me no matter how far I travel, reminding me that I am still suspended between the past and the present, and still trying to reconcile with the past me that took these precious moments for granted. This series was displayed at the Alberta Craft Council’s “Coming Up Next” exhibition in both Edmonton and Calgary locations 2021-2022.
Chinook on Moraine. 6.5 x 9.5 in unframed, 12 x 15 in framed, unique silver gelatin print, blown glass plate. 2021.
Chinook on Nose Hill. 6.5 x 9.5 in unframed, 12 x 15 in framed, unique silver gelatin print, blown glass plate. 2021.
If a moment in a life consists of a single point along the axis of time and space, then going out driving to visit and revisit favourite haunts is the best form of time travel. This series was displayed at the Student Exhibition at the international Glass Art Society Conference at the Tacoma Art Museum spring 2022.
Coordinates (50/-114). 8.25 in x 11.5 in unframed, 16 x 20 in framed, unique silver gelatin print, blown glass plate. 2021.
Coordinates (51/-113). 8.25 in x 11.5 in unframed, 16 x 20 in framed, unique silver gelatin print, blown glass plate. 2021.
For All Things Musical Ad Campaign
The Problem: Cassa Musical Arts was challenged in representing their exceptional value proposition within imagery. Their elite integrative programming focussed on a fun and dynamic experience for all ages was not shining through to target audiences.
The Solution: A photo series featuring stop-motion animation reels for online distribution along with energy-infused stills for print media. Images highlight Cassa’s programming and showcase actual students in interactive play.
Living Landscapes - Travel Alberta Mock Campaign
*This is a mock campaign and is not endorsed by Travel Alberta or the Government of Alberta.
This campaign was inspired by pop up storybooks and cards that allow you to jump into a perfect place. Each of these 11x17 posters were created with printed inkjet photographs re-folded into iconic Alberta landscapes. The journey of ideation, travelling to these locations to photograph textures and forms, the building of the sets, and finally compositing the images together have given me a new appreciation for the place I grew up in - Southern Alberta - and the amazing natural wonders that we are lucky to have just next door. This series uses no stock photography in the making; all components were shot from actual Alberta landscapes.
The Lost Series comprises of a tryptic of Arches created at golden hour on bluebird days on the prairies. Cloudless skies always amaze me, because in Alberta, the sky is almost never still. It is full of movement from the wind and clouds. It’s funny how I don’t realize how much I miss the fleeting patterns that cross the sky until the landscape is still and quiet around me. For me, a bluebird day is a day for reflection; a day to spend replaying my favourite memories and bringing back what I have lost. This series is of special importance to me, as it represents the culmination of the research and experimentation I underwent during my BFA at AUArts. The Lost Series was exhibited at the Exposure Photography Festival in 2022.
Lost Slyph. 7.25 x 7.25 in unframed, 10 x 10 in framed, unique silver gelatin print, blown glass plate. 2021.
Lost Zephyr. 7.25 x 7.25 in unframed, 10 x 10 in framed, unique silver gelatin print, blown glass plate. 2021.
Lost Foehn. 7.25 x 7.25 in unframed, 10 x 10 in framed, unique silver gelatin print, blown glass plate. 2021.
A country-inspired fashion shoot made in collaboration with fellow graduate Kennedy Scott.
Outfit, Model, and HMU: Kennedy Scott
The Wishing Well series is the result of 8 months of research into applying Rollei Black Magic photosensitive solution onto handblown glass. The process creates an inverted relationship between photograph and glass, where the glass becomes the optical canvas on which the photograph is exposed on. The result is a unique print that is distorted by the angle, thickness, and curvature of the glass.