Layla Love is currently working with Waterside Productions to make her first art table book entitled ‘Women of Resilience and Purpose,’ looking already towards her next literary project. Her new work, about women who are currently shaping the world, will include an anthology of images that she has been taking since she was twelve years old. Additionally, she is working on a clothing line of wearable art, partnering with designers to create sustainable couture in order to raise funds for her charity Rise of the Butterfly.
With the help and support of feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Love founded the nonprofit organization Rise of the Butterfly, which raises funds for anti-trafficking charities based in America. Using art as a catalyst, their objective is to intersect art and activism to fund anti-trafficking organizations that fuel conscious-raising actions and innovative, effective solutions. The promotion of personal transformation, resilience, community solutions, and agency are core values in their mission. To achieve this goal, they have collaborated with a team of revolutionary activist artists and influencers, and partnered with the largest and most established programs working to end global human trafficking, namely Voices4Freedom, Apne Aap, and Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW).
Love’s engagement with human emotions and relations evolved from her examination of her own place in the world. From environments and the people who inhabit them, to the way those people treat each other (and themselves) and how that treatment travels. Love’s mother was a gypsy and they moved more than 30 times before her 18th birthday. At the age of 7, Layla was gifted her first camera by her mother, a simple point-and-shoot. She’s described to friend and writer, Anthony Haden-Guest, that “everything is beautiful and fleeting.” She photographs everything as a way to hold onto the people and places that she loves.
Growing up, she was diagnosed with a debilitating neurological disorder, dystonia. For a great deal of her childhood she was forced to use crutches and wheelchairs to get around. As a result of treatment and medications, her eyesight has been threatened and total vision loss is a possibility. Photography became a vessel to healing and purpose when Love could not physically move. She has found both freedom and solace in creation, producing something out of raw emotion that she can reflect upon.
A graduate of University of California Santa Cruz with a degree in Visual Communications and Journalism, Love says a mentor there offered to pay her to photograph women in West Africa. These women self-mutilated to avoid being taken into the slave trade—“They would blind themselves and their daughters, that’s the way they wouldn’t be attacked,” Love explains. At the age of 21, she began a five-year photojournalism tour to war-torn regions, focusing her work on the plight of women. Love’s art aims to illuminate the human consciousness. She captures life as a series of adventures and expeditions into the unknown, returning always with a greater sense of what it means to be human. Her ability to turn pain and suffering into strength was as vital in photographing a young victim of trafficking in Cameroon, as it was in documenting the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., or showing women in China being persecuted, or when Love photographed herself following an assault in Australia.
Her photography has been exhibited worldwide including a photographic selection at the White House permanent collection in 2008. She has shown with Eric Franck Fine Art at Paris Photo, Art Basel, the MoMA sponsored AiPAD Photography Show in New York, which is the longest running and foremost exhibition of fine art photography. She has participated in over 100 photographic exhibitions with world-renowned artists such as, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, Pablo Picasso, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Kara Walker. Love's image The Fullest Bloom, was adapted individually for over 30 Tiffany & Co. Diamond Showrooms worldwide attesting to Love’s attention to detail and mastery of fine art printing.