Leland Bobbé is an American photographer known for commercial portraiture and for personal work capturing fringe elements of society. He has made portraits of burlesque performers and drag queens; and street photography in New York City’s Times Square and the Bowery in the mid-1970s, eighteen of which are in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York.
After two years at the New Division at Nasson College (an experimental college in Springvale, Maine), Bobbé graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton with a major in sociology in 1970. He then moved into New York City to pursue a career as a musician. He immediately bought his first 35 mm camera, and became obsessed with photography. His band City Lights was part of the CBGB scene in the mid-1970s and was the first such band to sign a recording contract. After signing to Sire Records, the band put out an album and toured. Bobbé photographed the Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, and Television among others. During this time he lived downtown below Chinatown in what was then the Fulton Fish Market, and supported himself by driving a taxi. He started to make photographs on the streets of New York City, focusing on seedy Times Square and the down and out men living on the Bowery.