The Community: Eslee
The Community is a new blog series highlighting some of our favorite creatives and giving you a glimpse into who they are, what they do, and why we love them. We're kicking off the series with our talented friend and one of the kindest people we know, Esther Lee.
Esther, also known as eslee, is usually found behind the camera noticing overlooked details and capturing something cinematic out of an ordinary scene. By nature she's a photographer and visual artist specializing in fashion and still life — but she's also one of our dear friends, trusted collaborators, and the eyes behind all of our lookbooks.
Once a Los Angeles native, Esther now lives in Seattle and works between the two cities. When we heard she was back in town for a visit we reconnected with her to chat about work, personal style, and other creative endeavors over this past year.
Can you tell us a little about your work and how your journey with photography and art direction has evolved?
My interest in photography started in high school. I always wanted to be in the yearbook club but I was too afraid. Fast forward to 2010, I went on a mission trip to Kenya and started my journey in photography with a Canon Rebel EOS R. As I learned how to use the camera, I fell in love with the process of photography. When I returned home I worked on building my portfolio for the next couple years and received small jobs through referrals. Then in 2012, I decided to take this career full time! I consider my style to be a bit surreal, minimal, and clean. The best part about photography is coming up with concepts and directing!
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be? Do you think fashion would still play a part in your life?
I would want to be involved in anything related to production or design. I get excited about the process of bringing smaller things together into a bigger complete vision. I’m not sure if fashion would still play a direct part in my work but I think I would want to incorporate it in some ways.
How would you describe your personal style, and what are your favorite things to wear lately?
I am drawn to pieces that are unique but nothing that screams for attention. I love anything that’s versatile and minimal! In terms of styling, I prefer avoiding anything that makes me think too hard. And at the end, I always make sure to top my outfit off with a hat or accessories! I usually walk out of my house with an oversize T-shirt, loose fitting pants, a hat, and a statement jewelry piece. Since I move around a lot, I find myself choosing comfortable clothes. Comfort brings confidence!
You’ve been working on Indwell, an 8 step mental health guide. Where did the idea for Indwell come from, and how has the book-making process been?
Indwell was created in 2020, which was an overwhelming year for many people. I was feeling anxious and struggling with my mental health, barely managing to stay connected during a season of loneliness and isolation. I was unable to care for myself beyond the things that offered temporary relief. Then my partners, RJ and Hatty, reached out to me and we decided to create a book together in response to the need of greater mental health during the pandemic. We came together as a licensed therapist, life coach and visual artist to create the Indwell Guide. I got to know so much more about myself and my purpose throughout this entire process. It was definitely challenging but we wanted to create something that can really help people and take away the stigma of mental health.
What are you hoping that people will take away from the guide?
I am hoping that people will find this process of self-discovery more accessible and less intimidating. We want to help people start their inner wellness journey to recover from their past and cope in their present, but truly thrive by empowering people to pursue their dreams and live with a purpose that makes our world a better place.
Indwell is available to order here and you can find their official Instagram here. To stay connected with Esther, you can find her on Instagram.
Shop Esther's outfits:
The Tyson Blazer + The Tyson Pants
The Skylar Dress + The Pico Beanie
The Andes Jacket
The Ryder Top