About Leila Jeffreys

Leila Jeffreys is an Australian based bird portrait artist and photographer. Her works feature large scale studies of birds ranging from tiny songbirds, to wild Cockatoos and birds of prey - eagles, owls, hawkes, kestrals, vultures. Thanks to her very adventurous parents – photographic artist, birdwatcher, and environmentalist – Leila Jeffreys grew up surrounded by wildlife in Australia and overseas. They ignited a love of nature and a passion for conservation that have influenced her photographic work.

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Leila Jeffreys is an Australian photographic and video artist.

She is represented in Sydney by the Olsen Gallery, in New York by the Olsen Gruin Gallery and in London by the Purdy Hicks Gallery.

Leila’s work is inspired by nature. She began documenting birds by way of photographic portraiture in 2008, working alongside conservationists, ornithologists and bird sanctuaries. Her works are difficult to achieve; they involve travel, long periods of waiting on her subjects, and many hours in post-production.  Through her own patience, Leila is able to separate these wonderful creatures from their natural surroundings and photograph them with the highest degree of technical skill.  

“(Leila’s) images are simultaneously serious and witty, gentle and impactful; technically, they are quite miraculous. Her rapport with her subjects, her technical ingenuity, her eye for colour, form and composition and her expertise in the processes of fine art photography combine to create singular works that have often – alas – been imitated but have never come close to being equalled.”
Dr Sarah Engledow, Historian and Curator - National Portrait Gallery of Australia

Leila has exhibited four major bodies of work. The first in 2010 featured budgerigars (‘Portrait of a Budgerigar’), followed in 2012 by cockatoos (‘Bioela Wild Cockatoos’), 2014 birds of prey (‘Prey’) and 2017 featured cockatoos, doves and pigeons as well as birds in trees and her first video art (‘Ornithurae’).

In addition to her solo exhibitions, Leila has exhibited her work in public art displays at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and the iconic Bergdorf Goodman department stores in New York City. In 2018 she was invited to attend and include her work in the prestigious Time Bomb - the 25th Annual Watermill Benefit in South Hampton NY which included performances from and works by international artists and was curated by Noah Khoshbin and Ivan Cheng. She has also created many photographic artworks that have yet to be exhibited.

After self-publishing her first book Interview With A Cockatoo (or Two) in 2012, Leila went on to publish hardcover books of her works: Birdland through Hatchette in Australia & New Zealand and the same work under the title Bird Love through Abrams Books in North America and the United Kingdom. In Australia the book was shortlisted in the Fully Illustrated Book category of the 2016 Australian Book Designers Association Awards as well as being Highly Commended in the Australian Trade Published Photobook of the Year category at the 2016 Photobook Melbourne Awards; while in the US, Bird Love received an Award of Excellence in the Photography Books category of the 57th Communication Arts Photography Annual.  The book was launched at Australia’s National Portrait Gallery in Canberra with an introduction by Dr Sarah Engledow, Historian and Curator.

Included in the broad list of titles that have profiled Leila and her artworks are publications such as The Guardian, The Financial Times and The Times (UK), Zeit Wissen, Die Ziet and Das Kunstmagazin (Germany), Colossal, Wall Street Magazine and The Sunday Times (US) as well as The Weekend Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Vogue Living, Vogue, Australian Geographic, Belle, Harpers Bazaar, Elle Decoration, The Design Files, Yellow Trace and the fine art quarterly publication Portrait in Australia.

2019 has seen Leila undertake her first expedition to the Arctic Circle with Poseidon Expeditions at the invitation of British historian and explorer  Dr Huw Lewis-Jones. While in the field, Leila experienced firsthand one of the most untouched parts of the world and also one of the most vulnerable, where nature still dominates. Such opportunities to travel and experience wildlife in natural habitat fuel both her creativity and her sense of urgency to protect it.  

Leila has also accepted an invitation from the Harewood House Trust UK to be a visiting Artist in Residence in early 2020. While there, she will work with the inhabitants of the revered Harewood House Bird Garden to create an exhibition of new work in celebration of the garden’s fiftieth anniversary.

In October and November 2019 Leila Jeffreys will present a new solo exhibition called High Society in both Sydney and New York. The exhibition signifies a significant progression for Leila with the inclusion of a high definition video art piece as well as a series of photographic works featuring flocks of budgies as well as individual portraits, and portraits of couples. 

Leila Jeffreys’ artworks can be found in private collections both nationally and internationally. She lives in Sydney with her family.