IN THE BEGINNING
British photographer Leonard Smith has a passion for photography and he shares this by publishing his images on greetings cards. Customers are often telling us how well our cards sell for them and how much they enjoy dealing with us. It must be because we care so much about what we do!
My friends and family will tell you that I’ve always been into taking photos. Photography is my way of life. I remember as an 8 year old on my first primary school trip to London, framing Big Ben through the coach window with my Kodak Brownie.
Throughout my teenager years I enjoyed the buzz of capturing the world around me through the lens of a camera. I learnt darkroom skills at school and shared the results of my photo projects in slide shows to anyone who was willing to watch them with me.
When I should have been studying for my A levels I heard an advert on the radio looking for young people to join a seven week expedition to East Greenland with an organisation called British Exploring. I was so proud to be picked to join seventy other teenagers for what truly was the trip of a lifetime for me.
It was the start of my photographic career. Showing my dramatic Arctic landscape slideshows set to music to my expedition sponsors was a spring board for me to sharing images with a wider audience.
Searching for a way to make a commercial venture from my photography whilst selling individual wall art prints I began to think of greetings cards as a kind of platform for my photographs. In the early 1980s cards were becoming a new art form and I found retailers were open to the prospect of stocking my eight card designs.
I punned my name with a camera lens and the business ‘Lens Ideas’ which I’d started with Issy my wife was launched. We made an impact in the UK greetings card market as a niche photographic card publisher when art photography on cards was rare. Being the photographer and publisher means that we know the story behind each of our images and we also take huge pride in responding to suggestions from our customers.