Monday, November 23, 2009


I am completely blown away by OSPOP. What is OSPOP you ask? Well, it is a fantastic company based in Hong Kong which was started by a friend of a friend. With funky shoe designs and recently added messenger bags OSPOP is creating quite a bit of buzz on the fashion scene. What sets this small company apart and truly gives it my kiss ass stamp of approval is how charitable it is. You will never see OSPOP sucking communities dry (hello Wal-Mart), but instead OSPOP focuses on supporting education within locations it operates in. With every bag and pair of shoes sold OSPOP makes a donation to students who otherwise would be unable to pay for their studies. If OSPOP’s founder Ben Walters had not yet earned his angels wings, he definitely does by participating in Goodsforgood. Very cool.

Check out the documentary section on their website to see how they make their shoes along with other cool videos. If you’re interested in purchasing anything let me know as I would be more than happy to share my coupon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reasons Behind My Silence

Ahh my friends, it has been way too long since I’ve blogged. I have missed you and hope you have missed my ramblings. Lately life has taken some surprising twists and turns, but mostly all for the best. I finally (and officially) launched Jessica Leigh Photography as I figured it was about time I turned my passion into a career. I could not be happier with the demand especially in this terrible economy and I am so honored to have worked with such incredible clients thus far. These last few months have been a blast. I cannot sit still – I am so excited – to see what 2010 brings! If you are interested in my work or just bored and surfing the web head over to or and check out what I have been a busy bee on.

Along with the photography I have become increasingly involved with animal charities and rescues; from donating photography packages for events to photographing dogs in hopes that a professional picture will increase their chances for adoption. I strive to be the voice for those whom cannot speak. I have especially focused on pit bull rescues. Pit bulls are such a misunderstood and mislabeled breed. Society tends to forget there are no bad dogs, but people that make bad dogs. It is time we begin seeing this precious breed once again as Petey from the Little Rascals and not as a killer. My heart breaks to see the suffering animals have to endure and I am going to make sure I do my part to stop this.

This past year was also filled with travels, hardships, new friends, and much laughter. All I plan to share with you very soon, but for now back to work.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What Are Horses Doing In Central Park?

As many of you remember from past blogs I am an advocate for the ban on horse drawn carriages in Manhattan and throughout other cities worldwide. My beliefs are not based on animals not working – as I do believe in work animals – but in the inhumane treatment of such animals. Horses need to graze and run and not end a day of work locked in small stalls in some decrepit industrial building. The conditions of these equine warehouses are deplorable. Try to imagine pastures and barns in Central Park designated for grazing and replenishment. Come on, think about! If they were built on the upper end of Central Park what a tourist attraction that would be! It’s not for the lack of space this idea is not entertained as, at the very least, there are 20-30 acres available for such buildings.

Another issue raised within the carriage industry is livestock should not work along side the garbage spewed from the tailpipes of the countless vehicles on our tiny island. When a horse is at rest its nose is literally at the same height of tailpipes.

Sadly there is more. Most horse drawn carriage drivers are not educated in equine maintenance or anatomy. And although I’m sure there are drivers' who feel compassionately towards their animal many are completely unaware of their mistreatment. Just the other day I saw only one driver (out of a line of around 25 horses) fill up a water bucket for their horse – which I commend him for doing in this weather – but he forgot to unhook the martingale. The poor animal couldn’t put his head down low enough to get the water. In my eyes this is the equivalent of torture. I've spent my whole life around horses and I’m constantly learning new care practices, so I think it’s safe to say education and instruction is a must for the drivers!

As this issue is now gaining more and more momentum it is as important as ever to speak up! We need a ban or at the very least major reforms.

I am extremely picky with what animal and environmental advocate groups I associate myself with as there are so many run by idiotic lunatics that give us vegetarians/vegans/animal rights advocates a bad rep (if you browse through many of my previous blogs you’ll definitely stumble across a few of my rants on these nuts), but I am 100% behind New Yorkers for Clean Liveable & Safe Streets. They propose some incredible alternatives to carriages instead of just channeling pent up angry into a ban.

Check it out and make sure to sign the petition. The few moments it takes could just be the tipping point in the right direction for these amazing creatures!

*Imaged borrowed from

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Joe DiMaggio - We're Talking About Photography Not Baseball

Although I normally can’t find a minute to breathe during the week I somehow was able to fit in a Lower Manhattan photography tour offered through Adorama last Sunday. Our fearless leader into these tourist traps was the great and accomplished photographer Joe DiMaggio. Not only is he extremely informative, but the man is funny as hell! Photography and comedy – honestly what is better?! In all seriousness though I was thrilled to work along side of such a seasoned pro.

The group varied from amateurs to up and coming professionals, yet Joe structured the workshop so no one was bored to tears or out of their league. He demonstrated how to make pictures of things already shoot millions of times look unique and unusual. I had an absolute ball with Joe and the ten hour workshop flew by even though I was carrying 20 lbs of equipment on my back. It’s now two days later and I still feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. This is why, when our schedules coincide, I drag the husband along to shoot and as the day progress my load gets lighter and his becomes heavier. Husband = photography assistant = happy photographer!

Here’s a brief bio on Joe pulled from I’m crossing my fingers I have the opportunity to school with him again.

Where it all started.

DiMaggio’s long-standing affair with photography began the day, at age nine, when he picked up his grandfather’s Kodak folding bellows camera. Later, his aunt bought him his own Kodak Brownie box camera, not suspecting that she was helping to launch a career of notable achievement.”

Joe DiMaggio considers himself a photographic “generalist,” so it’s quite likely that you have encountered his photographs along the way. They have graced magazine covers, advertising campaigns, corporate communications, books and newspapers. But despite a lifetime of photography as work, DiMaggio can’t disguise that he is having more fun than a kid with a new toy. His love of photography shines through his conversation, his teaching and, most of all, through his photographs.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Who Can Resist A Kitten?

To all my animal lovers out there – listen up! It’s that time of the year again, where countless kitten are dropped off at shelters all over the country due to the mother’s death, breeding within stray colonies, or even irresponsible people. If you can find it in your heart to help you truly will be saving a lil’ life; as every day many of these innocent babies are euthanized. I want to share with you all an email I received from The Feral Cat Initiative here in NYC. I’ve already been able to find one person willing to help in the bottle feeding/foster. Anyone else out there?!

Subject: Emergency Request - Kitten Bottle-feeder needed ASAP

Dear Volunteers,

The Feral Cat Initiative, a program of The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, is being inundated with requests for assistance with still-nursing, orphaned kittens.

There is an immediate need for an experienced bottle-feeder for three 3-week old kittens and for foster homes for very young kittens who are eating on their own.

If you can assist, please contact Valerie at or 212-330-0033 ext. 5

Thank you!

Evon Handras

If you're not in a position to foster or adopt you can do your part by making sure your animals are neutered and spayed!

And through the rain clouds the sun peaked through waving goodbye to the week and hello to the weekend. Enjoy.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Who Sounds Better? The Husky Or Stefani?

This post is for all your animal lovers out there! I found this on Youtube today and literally fell of my chair laughing.  The look of embarrassment on the other dogs face is priceless.  Happy Friday!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Food For Thought

Sometimes solutions are right in front of us, right? Check this out:

From AlterNet's latest research:
If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would save:
● 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months;
● 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year;
● 70 million gallons of gas -- enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare;
● 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware;
● 33 tons of antibiotics.
If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the U.S. would prevent:
● Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France;
● 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages;
● 4.5 million tons of animal excrement;
● Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant.

My favorite statistic is this: According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads. See how easy it is to make an impact?

Other points:
Globally, we feed 756 million tons of grain to farmed animals. As Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer notes in his new book, if we fed that grain to the 1.4 billion people who are living in abject poverty, each of them would be provided more than half a ton of grain, or about 3 pounds of grain/day -- that's twice the grain they would need to survive. And that doesn't even include the 225 million tons of soy that are produced every year, almost all of which is fed to farmed animals. He writes, "The world is not running out of food. The problem is that we -- the relatively affluent -- have found a way to consume four or five times as much food as would be possible, if we were to eat the crops we grow directly."

A recent United Nations report titled Livestock's Long Shadow concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world's transportation systems -- that's all the cars, trucks, SUVs, planes and ships in the world combined. The report also concluded that factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every level -- local and global.

Researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that switching from standard American diet to a vegan diet is more effective in the fight against global warming than switching from a standard American car to a hybrid.

In its report, the U.N. found that the meat industry causes local and global environmental problems even beyond global warming. It said that the meat industry should be a main focus in every discussion of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortages and pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

Unattributed statistics were calculated from scientific reports by Noam Mohr, a physicist with the New York University Polytechnic Institute.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Kentuck Derby

A few weeks ago, my family gathered amongst extravagant hats, southern accents, and mint juleps. We made three trips to the paddock and three long walks to the track while the horn blazed a proverbial tune and the crowd bet their hard earned monies on their favorites. My Uncle Larry and Aunt Cindy have been very fortunate these last few years to have good enough horses to race in the Kentucky Derby. First there was Hard Spun, then the beautiful filly Eight Belles, and now Friesan Fire. On one end the Derby is a pretentious crowd of money, booze, and inflated egos. Yet, on Derby Day I see hopes, dreams, and a deep passion for horses. There is something else though, something so addicting yet so fleeting. For less than two minutes - only two minutes – the energy radiates, glowing with passion and anticipation. You feel it in your toes as you prance in place (pardon the pun). This energy travels up knotting your stomach, and spreading to your fingers as you hastily trace the sign of the cross and say a quick prayer in hopes for a favorable and safe outcome.

If you know thoroughbreds, you know they feel it too. As dawn breaks on Derby Day and the fog begins to lift the barns are already in full swing. Tack is meticulously scrubbed and cleaned. Horses are bathed, hoofs are picked. All horses with better hygiene than their grooms. Then, as my Aunt Cindy puts it, the “race face” goes on. The gentlest horse turns – anticipating the challenge; as a football player would syke himself up in the locker room before the playoffs. That energy, that innate drive to run, shinning through their eyes. Horses, especially thoroughbreds live to run. If you’ve lived with horses, or worked with horses on a daily basis, you would know this.

Still there is something else for me, something deeper, than the Derby. The chance to reconnect with my southern roots is priceless. Although city girl now (and forever considered by my southern counterparts as the “Yankee”) there is something I crave, something I connect with in Kentucky. Maybe it’s the slower mentality, the consideration for your neighbor the North has not quite mastered yet, or how real a farm and a southern home cooked meal are. Truthfully, I would trade the big hats and beautiful dresses for a pair of boots and a cowboy hat any day.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Charity Event: Earth Angels

My fellow New Yorkers (and those surrounding suburbanites), you presence is requested on Friday, April 24th at the Vicars and Tarts party to benefit Earth Angels. Jessica Leigh Photography is a sponsor for the event, and if you’re lucky enough you could win a FREE shoot with yours truly. There is absolutely no reason why everyone - including their mothers - shouldn’t be able to make it, of course, there are plenty of reasons why you should go! 1. It’s a Friday night 2. There will be massive amounts of alcohol. 3. Alcohol and priest costumes make for one hell of an evening (pardon the pun) and 4. An amazing organization benefits from you participation. So be there or be square.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Gabrielle Wortman

So there is this artist that I know. Stunningly beautiful with fierce intelligence. She’s unwilling to conform or be bought by the Britney Spears creators and the plastics that are pop music. She knows what she wants, and by all means possible, she will achieve it. This woman happens to be Gabrielle Wortman. Gabrielle is my sister.

I’ve witnessed the progression of her talent. I recall the sing and dance offs in my bedroom, stereo blaring with songs from the forgettable 90’s, as we forced our parents to watch and praise us. I remember her uncomfortable energy when she wasn’t creating, whether it be through her painting or through music. I also remember the fights. Ohh the fights! You’d never believed how we fought. Two little proper girls turned wild animals. God bless our parents.

And now here she is. Grown up and on the tipping point of her career. A shinning light through the Los Angeles smog. Sisters aside, I can’t believe the talent she’s got. And I can’t wait to see how her journey in the music industry plays out. Come and join me as I watch her take off. I’m so proud of you baby sis.