This set of four films is the culmination of a documentary photography project I have produced on Scott Leonard, founder of Champion, an ad agency and social enterprise based in Brixton, London, with a mission to nurture young creative talent and assure them bright futures in the creative industry.
This is the story of one Yorkshireman’s search for meaning.
Born in 1974, Scott Leonard hails from a poor background and a broken home in the North of England. His parents divorced when he was eight years old, he had a difficult relationship with his father, and later lost both his grandfather who had been an idol to Scott, and his mother, who died too young. Growing up he felt most at home surrounded by people from different cultures, and struggled in his early years against what he felt to be an endemic lack of openness to creativity.
From these difficult beginnings, Scott built a successful career for himself in the advertising industry in London, working hard but also benefiting from the help and counsel of others, before in turn developing a passion for mentoring youth himself. He loved the creativity of the job, but never quite felt comfortable being a cog in a larger machine. In 2012 he decided to follow his passions and so left his corporate job to brave it alone with a new social enterprise and creative agency called Champion; he hopes it will be the future of the creative industry.
Throughout his life, Scott has pursued a ceaseless search for meaning. Through leaving home, through marathons and endurance sports, through mentoring underprivileged youth, through helping to build a community where there was none, through restoring a house and finding someone to share it with, and through leaving his corporate job to revolutionise the industry that had given him so much, Scott never stopped striving for fulfilment. Just possibly he found it along the way.
This set of four films, then, is an attempt to document that search.
Directed, edited, produced, scripted, recorded and photographed by Ryan Nell - a London based photographer.