Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue

We spent a few long days at Akindale farm in Pawling upstate New York, working with a charming and characterful bunch of retired racehorses.

Anyone seen the model?

Akindale's manager Erin Pfister with Three Times Bea.

This serene sunrise vista belies the fact that Bea was by far the most energetic of our models!

Stacey Roca with TV Hunter

Robert Redford has nothing on me!

This little fella tailed me throughout the whole 4 dayshoot

Evening Attire. This older statesman is used to all the attention.

 Taken With a view to having an exhibition to raise awareness for a great cause. These retired racehorses were lucky to find a home at Akindale farm thoroughbred rescue.

My aim was to present them with dignity, in the style of the classic horse portrait painters.

This is part of an ongoing project for me, one that I am finding immense pleasure partaking in.

Evening Attire. Earned winnings of $2,977,130. He last raced in 2008. A true legend.



Megalithic. He found a home the day after this was taken. Last raced in 2012

TV Hunter.

Three Times Bea. Three year old filly recently retired.

New York Rain

I was asked by the very talented songwriter and musician Andy Fitzpatrick, to create an image for his new album. Nice simple open brief; listen to the songs and create an image. 
So out onto the balcony I go ( it is raining, so I'm sticking close to home) 
under a slate grey sky armed with a mirror, 
and the challenge of creating an album cover that afternoon.

So here it is. 
If you know Andy and listen to the songs on the album, it's a perfect fit!

Check out this excellent on Band Camp 

Here are some of the images we considered for the cover.

Andy can also be heard in residency every Thursday at
The Tree Bistro in the East Village.


I've started to collect and photograph these rather archaic pieces of office equipment and give them some back some life. Junk shops are littered with them, discarded, forgotten stalwarts of a bygone era.
Their original names make give a sense of their importance in the workflow back in the days before the silent keyboards of today.

Galaxian II


One Direction?

I've been out and about recently, shooting some new images for an ongoing exploration away from the studio. I see these as giant still life studies, trying to align the human form into various environments.
There are other ideas to shoot but getting permission can be tricky and time consuming here in New York. 

Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. They were not to keen on my idea so we went ahead and shot it anyway when no one was looking! 

Watch this space as there are more to come........

Faces & Figures

Just published on Issu, a portfolio dedicated entirely to on-figure, people and portrait work.

Leon is predominantly known for his still life work especially in the U.S.
This portfolio to showcase some of the many commissioned projects he has worked
on outside of the still life arena.

"Speaking to art buyers here in New York, I get the distinct impression that unless you are shooting cosmetics, still life commissions are dwindling! That is of course not great for for someone has spent a career souley

'Nature and Découvertes'

Seriously Hazardous Art  Gallery in Paris affectionately known as S.H.A.G, will be showing my new Wire Frame series and the Boxhill series from 28th March to 15th April. So should you find yourself in Paris in the Spring........

a nod to the horse meat crisis in Europe no doubt!

The group show is themed around Nature & Discovery

Gallery : http://s-h-a-g.fr

Check out work by other artists in the show;   
Rohan Graeffly http://s-h-a-g.fr/rohangraeffly  

Wire Frames

A new series of images from an ongoing project.

"These images originate from what I see as the blandness of CGI and it's effects on still life photography. There seems to be no place in computer generated imagery for chance happenings, or rough edges."

 "They are created using bronze chicken wire, suspended and then allowed to revolve. With the slightest tweaks of the wire new forms evolve and I let them spin and photograph them as they turn. It's a very organic process, and strangely hypnotic too. At first they appear to be computer generated wire meshes, nothing special, but on closer inspection it becomes apparent that they are handmade and this for me is where the interest lies."

Kellogg's for Leo Burnett USA

Stephanie Summers, Art Director at Leo Burnett Chicago came to New York to shoot a defeated donut ad for Kellogg's new Special K protein cereal.

Hell of a rig for a donut!

Food Stylist Paul Grimes samples the product

More For British Airways

BBH Asia Pacific asked Leon to shoot a print campaign using push-pin art to create life-size images of iconic destinations in the US for British Airways.

'The campaign captures the scale of US destinations accessible to passengers flying British Airways from India - en route to the US via London. Award-winning artist Wesley West used over six thousand regular push-pins to create the images, painstakingly choreographing each pin to allow for an arresting 3D effect.

Renowned still life photographer and long time BBH friend Leon Steele then brought the three six - foot tall images to life - creating movement and depth - to the iconic Statue of Liberty, the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge and a Rodeo moment.'

(Extract from Campaign Brief Asia)

Click here to see time lapse footage of Wesley at work
It was great to be working with Wez again in NYC

The artwork was created in a distorted 3D perspective in order that it appeared

correct to the viewer in 2D

Le Artiste

Associate Creative Director: Andy Grant BBH Singapore
Print Producer: Lesley Chelvan
Producer: Karys McEwen
Retoucher: Don Russo

Leon is now living and working in NYC.

After flying back and forth across the Atlantic for the last ten years, Leon made the decision to base his studio in New York City. The energy in NYC was too big a pull so he's now living in the East Village and loving every minute of it.
So, apologies for the break from the blogosphere but understandably international moving and setting up a studio and apartment take up a lot of head space.

Leon was asked by EuroRSCG Worldwide to create beautiful artwork out of the mess created from oven spillages.

Art Buyer Julie Rosenoff sent through these layouts from Art Director Helen Shin.

Food stylist  Margarette Adams was drafted in to create the thanksgiving dishes that would bring colour and authenticity to the ads.

The shoot itself took place at Noho Productions.

The Result.
Margarette doing her magic

British Airways

Leon worked with Art Director Chris Clarke and Creative Director
Hamish Pinnell at BBH London
to create a new series of tactical ads for British Airways.
The ice sculptures were created by The Ice Box.

Leon Worked with Art Director

More for More Magazine

Following on from the Royal Roses shoot Leon was asked to come up with ideas to illustrate the health and well being stories in the December and January editions of More magazine in New York. The issues raised in the stories ranged from gout to health for people in a hurry.

Leon teamed up with modelmaker/stylist Brian Byrne at Set in Ice to produce the models for the shoot.


And here is an ice brain test, shot at the end of the day.

Seasonal Change

As the Summer turned to Autumn, Leon was back out in the Surrey Hills to continue making his work on Box Hill.

Click images to enlarge

The project has now been through a 2 full year cycle and the changes documented have been remarkable. At this time of year there is only a small window of opportunity to capture the changes and Leon can be found once again charging around the hedgerows often lumbering a 10x8 field camera.