Leah Beilhart

My father met my mother years ago in Panama when he was stationed there back in the early 90’s. Though I was too young to understand, let alone accept picking up and leaving new friends, I eventually developed an appreciation for a military lifestyle and it became a catalyst to my traveling desires. 

 

REBEL

Most rebelliousness in early college years would have been drug and alcohol experimentation, maybe even as far to say sexual experiences. But my quote on quote “experimental phase” was figuring out how to get myself from Point A to Point B without my parents finding out. I thought it would be simple while I attended college in America and they were located overseas in Germany. I would spend weeks just eating prepackaged salami and loaves of bread to save money for train tickets. I would sell random bits of furniture to save for a flight. I even went as far to use money that was being sent to me from my parents for housing as a way to save for larger trips. It didn’t take long to get caught, but I quickly developed an addiction to traveling, especially on my own, and it was a high that I didn’t want to overcome and a feeling I wanted to pass around to others.

 

THE “ART KID”

It was difficult growing up as the “art kid.” I always got subtle hints from family and acquaintances that it was a risky path to take and that I might not be as successful as having a foundational occupation that paid salary. Something shifted for me in 2008 when I was participating in a service project in Turnov, Czech Republic. Every evening a group of young college students projected a slideshow of all the photos they took of us while we were rebuilding playgrounds and clearing brush from homes. I didn’t have high expectations for the images but when the room turned black, our faces glowing from the luminance of the screen, I was captivated by the personalities and honest emotions they captured. Then a panned image of me was displayed. I was joyously carrying branches over my back with mud splattered across my face; I was brought to tears when I saw it. Soon after, I realized the amount of power and influence you could have by taking pictures and the art process enthralled me. I wanted to give people that same level of awe I experienced when I was 14 years old.  

 

FAST FORWARD

I’ve travelled to more than 15 countries and have roamed across a handful of states in America. I changed schools just as often as I lose the matches to my socks. In 2007, I attended high school in Germany and I ventured back to the U.S. in 2010 to attend Penn State University, University of Adelaide in Australia, and the University of Tampa. I obtained my Bachelors of Fine Arts with an Art Therapy concentration in 2014. I received a Master of Fine Arts in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University. I was the Content Creator and photographer for Workhorse Collective in 2016, a graphic design firm in Washington, D.C. and jumpstarted photography work for Capitol Standard Magazine. I’m the founder of BEHOLD.HER, a portrait happy hour event series exclusively for women in the DMV and looking to spread it across the nation.