Best in the West
Story and Photo by Megan Davis
Leslie Kitten has always had the technique and skills for photography. With a long road of struggles and success, she was finally able to reach her dream.
Kitten graduated from Texas Tech University in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in interior design and architecture. She then continued her education by enrolling in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and received her master’s in agricultural education.
“When I started college, my goals were to own an architecture firm, carry a black briefcase and wear a black suit,” Kitten said. “I quickly realized that’s not who I am.”
While pursuing her master’s degree, Kitten learned that her previous dream had changed.
“I wanted the lifestyle of having a family and being able to attend family events,” Kitten said.
While attending graduate school, Kitten started her own photography business. Due to her busy schedule, Kitten did not see the potential her business could achieve at the beginning.
“When I was in graduate school, a friend asked me to photograph her wedding and paid me $100 and that is how I started,” Kitten said.
After starting her own business in 2002, Savant Photography, Kitten saw the potential her company possessed and decided she wanted to make a difference.
“During graduate school, my business was in the spare bedroom of my house,” Kitten said. “I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life, I just was not quite there yet.”
Throughout the years, Kitten has been successful in her business, but still manages to stay grounded.
“I am fearful every day. I am completely dependent on people because what I do is a luxury item.” Kitten said. “I am hoping that people will see my product as something they can’t live without.”
Taking pictures is not the only important part for Kitten and her career.
“For some people, I am the last person to capture their entire family. I have something that really means a lot to them and they want it forever. It makes me happy that I can do that for people,” Kitten said.
Kitten maintains her relationship with Tech by teaching the agricultural communications 4001 photography class.
“I enjoy learning from the students. I learn to see things differently, and to see others perspective on things, which helps keep my photography fresh,” Kitten said.
During her photography career, Kitten has received recognition for her talents, one of them being an award by voters of the Lubbock community called The Best in the West award. However, Kitten was surprised at which award meant the most to her.
“My most meaningful award has nothing to do with photography,” Kitten said. “I received first place in the nation for my thesis. It was over agricultural education and implementing the agricultural communication program.”
As Kitten plans to conquer her goal in building her own studio, there is no doubt she is an inspiration to others. Being a full-time business owner, wife, mother and teacher, one could agree she is truly the best in the west.