This spectacular photograph – Soulmates – was created by artist and Woman You Should Know Layla Love. We had the incredible pleasure and opportunity to meet Layla a few years back, and continue to be awed and inspired by her journey, her work and her spirit.
Soulmates is a piece from Layla’s Lucid Dreaming series. In this work, she reflects on the “universal quest to see the beauty and potential of one’s own transformation… the success of which is shaped by one’s ability to see the world differently.” It speaks to her own journey and transformation.
“I put meaning into my art because I don’t know if I’ll wake up tomorrow and not see. I never know.” At the age of 5, Layla was diagnosed with Dystonia, a crippling neurological disorder that causes painful muscle contractions, much like Juvenile Parkinson’s disease. Spending most of her childhood in a wheelchair, Layla became fascinated with the beauty that surrounded her. She received a camera as a gift from her mother when she was 7, and has never stopped taking photos since. “Photography became a way of healing and giving me freedom when I could not move; I took pictures every day,” she said.
Several years ago, due to complications from the medications she took to manage her Dystonia, Layla was diagnosed with multifocal choroiditis, an irreversible scarring of the retina, which has caused her significant vision loss, and if it continues to progress, may take her vision away entirely.
Today, more than ever, she wants to make art that really matters, “I put meaning into my art because I don’t know if I’ll wake up tomorrow and not see. I never know.” Layla shared with us recently that she is getting stronger and building a foundation of health and clear vision. She is looking forward to continuing on her path of adding to the arts and showing the world the full spectrum of what the experience of life is through her work.
Layla is a survivor, not a victim, and Gloria Steinem says it best, “Layla Love is an artist in all the best senses of that word — in love with and filled with the energy of life, from suffering though miracles. Her work is universal and unique at the same time. You will always know it’s hers — and your own.”
More About Layla Love
Layla graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz where she received her B.A. in Visual Communications and Journalism. Her work has been exhibited in major international shows such as the Paris Photo Expo, Art Basel Miami and Aipad in New York.
Her solo shows include Baron, New York Kresge Town Hall, Santa Cruz and in 2009 with the support of artist and author Anthony-Haden Guest, Love held her solo exhibition, “Art Heals,” at the National Arts Club in Manhattan. Her work is in the permanent collections of The White House, The Alex Grey Foundation and The Women’s Museum in Dallas. Tiffany & Co. showcases her photographs in 30 world-wide locations including its stores in Harrod’s London, Dubai and Fifth Avenue.