Mitchell Leff earned his bachelor’s degree in sports and recreation management from Temple University. Mitchell’s combined love of history and sports drew him to photography classes at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. His passion for documenting and participating in history is at the core of his work.
Mitchell landed an internship in the photography department at the Philadelphia Daily News. He learned his way around a newsroom and was inspired by the work of fellow staff member Dave Maialetti. That same year Mitchell was appointed to his current position as official photographer for the Philadelphia Mayor’s office. In that capacity he shadows Mayor Michael Nutter and photographs the daily workings of city government as well as major events including the 2010 Liberty Medal Award with Bill Clinton and Tony Blair and the 2012 Mayoral Inauguration.
Mitchell assists Sports Illustrated photographer Al Tielemans during games and portrait shoots. He is also an Atlantic 10 Conference photographer, traveling to shoot men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, lacrosse, cross-country and rowing.
Mitchell has served as Temple University’s sports photographer since 2011 where he is responsible for shooting all athletics for the University; he was the Philadelphia Soul (arena football) team photographer for the 2011 season; the Army-Navy football game photographer in 2009 and 2010; and the Wing Bowl (competitive eating contest) photographer in 2011. During the 2013 March Madness at Wells Fargo, Mitchell was commissioned to photograph the University of Oklahoma, Creighton University and Florida Gulf Coast University.
In 2013, Mitchell photographed Philadelphia’s Wawa Welcome America Concert, hosted by comedian Kevin Hart. Headliners included the Roots, Jill Scott, Ne-Yo, Grace Potter and John Mayer. He photographed Budweiser’s 2012 Made In America Concert featuring Jay-Z.
Mitchell’s key influences include presidential photographer Pete Souza and the San Francisco 49ers photographer Mike Zagaris, whose intimate locker room access has expanded the limits of sports photography.
From the political arena, to the playing field, to the concert stage, and beyond, photographer Mitchell Leff chronicles the human form in its full expression.