About Lou Lesko

There's really not much of an excuse for any of this, except to say that I like to shoot the shit, and I love to write.

I started as a fashion photographer in San Francisco back when Depeche Mode was on the radio every day. It was a fabulous time. So much so that when I got accepted to the University of Southern California, I almost didn't go. My father covinced me to attend by imparting the following advice; you have the rest of your life to be a photographer, but only one opportunity to go to college. I graduated from USC's writing program.

After college I wanted to save the world through photojournalism. Problem was, I had no idea how to be a photojournalist. But fortune favors drunks and idealists, of which I was both. After an all night party, a dawn cappuccino at a cafe in San Francisco led me to my first assignment in the Soviet Union. (There's a book coming about that.) Photojournalism became my life for two years, until I was out of money. Well travelled and broke, I went back to shooting fashion in Los Angeles.

The photojournalism work had a profound influence on my visual storytelling. About that time advertising was trending toward a highly editorial look. My photography style was in right place at the right time. I started to get commercial advertising gigs, and ultimately an opportunity to write and direct a public service announcement for breast cancer awareness. The PSA kicked off a fabulous commercial directing run.

The writing started later, around 2002. I knew a magazine editor, he asked me to write an article, I became hooked on the craft. In 2007, a book I wrote about the advertising photography industry got me an invitation to be the managing editor of National Geographic Assignment for three years. Also around that time my friend, travel writer Kimberley Lovato, asked me to shoot the photos for her book about the Dordogne region of France entitled Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves. The book won the highest honor of the Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism in 2012.

Currently I'm finishing a book entitled The Ghost of Communism. I live in California with my breathtaking girlfriend, a spectacular photographer named Emily Merrill.


Email is the best way to get in touch, and following me on twitter is the best thing you'll do for your complexion this week.