If You Leave is a print showcase for incredible contemporary photography and the fourth issue launches at our gallery 71a tonight.

If You Leave is a print showcase for incredible contemporary photography and the fourth issue launches at our gallery 71a tonight.

Laurence Von Thomas originally brought If You Leave into being as his own personal visual diary. Four years later, the tumblr blog he created has become a revered resource of the best emerging contemporary photography in the game.

After flourishing online, If You Leave has also breathed life in the offline world too, producing four offspring in print. The photography is not collected around any specific theme or preconceived ideas, it’s simply a platform for the brightest young artists. Each photographer’s work is presented alone and not as part of a body of work, forcing it to speak for itself but allowing it to be heard on its own terms.

Huck spoke to Laurence to find out about his unconscious selection process and the images that really speak to him. The fourth and final print edition of If You Leave launches tonight, Thursday December 5 at 7pm, downstairs in our 71a gallery space in Shoreditch, East London. You can RSVP to the launch party here.

How did If You Leave come about?
“Four years ago If You Leave began as my personal visual diary. As I had never run a blog before it was a mix of my own work and that of other photographers who I had found on flickr and tumblr. But I soon realised that it would have far more impact as a platform by only showcasing the work of other photographers. So I added a submission option and set up a flickr group. I honestly never imagined it would take off in the way it did.”

Is there a narrative or theme tying all the work together?
“I’m sure there is… but it’s not a conscious one. The selection process happens quite instinctively and I’ve always felt it stronger not having to analyse this.”

Can you describe some of your favourite shots from the latest edition?
“It tends to change on a daily basis. But I would mention the image by Reuben Wu which we used to present the book launch and then there is a very fragile image of a young girl in the back of car by Jonathan Steelandt. Another favourite would be a photo by Kimberly Tell which really blows my mind. Every time I look at it, I feel like I’m part of some obscure French or Italian cult film from the 70’s!”

As curator, what are the challenges in presenting these diverse artists’ work together?
“The most challenging thing is to keep it fresh, to try and find that one image that really speaks. Some days it is a struggle, but mostly the images just stand out.”

Why did you chose to display the work in this format?
“Personally, when it comes to photography, my interest has always focussed in on what is right in front of me. I know this sounds quite obvious but this doesn’t have to be the case. So with If You Leave I zoom in on a singular image rather than a series or body of work.”

What do you hope readers take away from each edition?
“Hopefully, the same things as they have from the previous books. If You Leave is a project that flowered organically. There has never been an aim, as such, so I’ve never had to please anyone. But if at the end of the day it has made a difference or impact for only one person, then that’s the best thing that could ever happen to it!”

Do you have another issue/project in the pipeline?
“In January we are presenting the first issue of a project that has been running online for the last year called Mood | Board. It’s a visual reference magazine and online gallery. Then there’s X|12 which is a joint effort between us (Arthur-Frank), Ti Pi Tin, La Maison Wertn, Rapid Eye and Motto Books in which we will invite a series of new independent publications to London for the first time and promote them for a period using our social network and outlets. As for myself, I’m working on a small publication based on an Instagram project.”

Click here to RSVP for the launch party of the fourth and final issue or pre-order a copy here. For the best of contemporary photography online head over to the If You Leave tumblr.