Torika Ledua and Ledua Photography
By Leah Morningstar
Torika Ledua’s passion to be behind the camera lens began about four years ago on a family trip to British Columbia. Ledua was taking pictures with her cell phone and couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty she captured, even though it was just on a cell phone.
Back home in Thunder Bay, Ledua borrowed her mother’s camera and practiced taking portraits of her friend Charlotte. “Even though it wasn’t a fancy camera and the pictures weren’t that good, my friend was thrilled with the portraits,” she says. It had been a long time since Charlotte felt beautiful and confident and Ledua helped make that happen. And it felt good.
Ledua grew up in a big family. Her dad is from Fiji and her mom is Canadian; the house was always bustling with four loud children (Ledua has three brothers). After high school, she began studying nursing at Lakehead University. Partway through though, Ledua switched to studying social work. She says she still wasn’t sure what she wanted but she knew she wanted to help people. The following four years, spanning from those practice portraits with Charlotte to the present day, have been incredibly busy. Ledua has been continually attending classes, working part time, and of course, always taking pictures. Both her camera equipment and her skills have improved by leaps and bounds.
Ledua says she still isn’t sure if she’ll actually be an accredited social worker, but she’s quite sure she’ll be using her education and experience no matter which path she takes. For now, her path is photography. “When I take pictures of people, they’re letting me into their lives, however briefly,” she says. “I’m working closely in intimate settings and my experience helps me communicate and connect with them.” It’s those connections that motivate and inspire Ledua’s creativity and passion.
Growing up in Thunder Bay, Ledua says she has watched the city grow, evolve, and become more diverse. These changes have solidified her resolve to be a helper. “I want to be a person who is open to all experiences and all people, and I love that I have the opportunity to be a role model as a professional woman of colour in this part of the world,” she says. As barriers break down, Ledua is excited to be in the middle of it all. In the fall, she, along with the whole world, watched Kamala Harris become the first Black and South Asian woman elected to one of the Western world’s highest offices. Ledua is going to continue pursuing her passion of connecting and communicating with people from all walks of life. And she’s going to do that by taking pictures, helping people feel beautiful, and building community one click at a time.
Please visit Ledua Photography on Instagram @leduaphotography and at her website leduaphotography.com.