Erin Lee

Erin Lee is an editorial and documentary photographer whose work applies environmental portraiture with landscapes and habitats to examine sub-cultures and social issues. Proposed in a way that challenges the traditional format of documentary photography her projects become depictions that break the stereotypes surrounding the people and places chosen to document.


She is a frequent contributor to Vice Magazine and her work has been exhibited internationally. Erin has been selected for artist residencies in Venezuela, France and Algeria.

Erin Lee

Short interview

What is the narrative behind your work? In other words, what inspires you?


At a most basic level, I am inspired by the unknown. Most of my inspiration comes from travelling, so that involves learning a new language or ways to communicate, meeting people, reading and walking a lot!

What is the feminine for you and how does it impact your work?


Femininity is an attitude, a set of behaviours and attributes, which although has been heavily socially influenced, can still apply to anyone or anything.

However, regardless of our gender we all have masculine and feminine energy, for me it’s like a set of scales and the way I balance the two has a huge effect on my artwork. Feminine energy governs our intuition, receptivity, dreams, and emotions whereas masculine energy controls logic, planning, and structure. When engaging with subjects it is important to balance on the correct side of empathy and apathy, consideration and encroachment, speaking and listening. That’s why the feminine attitude is essential. 


 Can you tell us about some of the challenges you face as a female artist / non-binary femme artist?


The challenges I face as an artist are not related to being female. In fact I sometimes feel like it has been easier for me to gain people’s trust and enter their personal space as a female, compared to how it is for male photographer colleagues. I am grateful to be a woman.


A bigger challenge I face as a photographic artist is the fact that everyone these days can easily make technically perfect images, so to set yourself apart you need to be a photographic author! I consider photography as a visual language with huge potential to tell stories – so having something to really “say” is the biggest challenge.


 In a few words, can you share with us what have been some of the key elements to develop your artistic career?


Moving to Mexico City in 2012 was a huge component in my career development. I chose Mexico City because I saw it as a growing place in terms of its art and photography scenes and industries, not so saturated and competitive like Berlin, New York or London could be but still with a lot of opportunities and things happening.

It’s relatively cheap to live and full of inspiration, I was able to launch my career as a freelance photographer and started receiving commissions for magazines as well as selling and publishing personal projects. I think this would have been a lot harder to initiate in Australia or New Zealand, where I am originally from.