interview: Lea Williams

Continuing our interview series, this week we talk to Lea Williams
The Photographer | Polaroid
The Photographer by Lea Williams
Polaroid Automatic 100, Polaroid Sepia film

how long have you been shooting film?

I’ve only been shooting film since August 2010 – in fact I’ve only been seriously shooting anything since January 2010! I’ve still got heaps to learn but wow what a journey it’s been so far! I never thought that I would possess seven analogue cameras by now and four of them Polaroid. But that’s what I’ve enjoyed most about exploring film – it’s challenging, fun and just a bit addictive. And I love the anticipation of peeling back a Polaroid film or scanning a roll to see what it holds.
Student life | Polaroid
Student life by Lea Williams
Polaroid Colorpack II , Polaroid 667 film

do you prefer colour or black & white? do you have a favourite film, camera or technique you like to work with?

Personally I prefer black and white because of the simplicity and mood it can convey. And it picks up those shadows and light that are perhaps sometimes lost in the distraction of colour. I’m still learning about the wide variety of film grades and grains and look forward to each developed roll to see how they turn out. But in my experience, even a bad image can be salvaged in b&w!

My favourite camera is my Polaroid 100 Automatic. It’s big, clunky and always draws comments from passersby, but never lets me down (except when I accidently dropped it – I almost cried). I still marvel at how well it works despite being 45 years old! At the moment my favourite film is Polaroid Chocolate which is sadly very hard to find now. I like the texture and feel of the chocolatey tones – they add a vintage, imperfect quality to prints which I love.

show us one of your favourite shots and tell us a bit about it – how did you take it? is there a story behind it?

Pier in Polaroid Blue
Pier in Polaroid Blue by Lea Williams
Polaroid Colorpack II, Polaroid Blue film

This Polaroid of Point Lonsdale Pier is a particular fave for its simplicity and the Blue film produced some lavender tones which I wasn’t expecting. I think it was only the second pack of film I’d run through the Colorpack II camera (my first Polaroid) and I remember being so pleased to have finally produced a decent print! Also, Point Lonsdale holds special memories for me and my family and I think this picture captures its tranquility.

show us a favourite shot from the MSM pool. what do you enjoy in other peoples’ photos?
The Great Escape
The Great Escape by Dave Carswell
Pentacon Six, Ilford FP4+

It’s very difficult to choose from a pool of so many amazing and unique images, but at the moment I choose Dave Carswell’s “The Great Escape” because I love its timelessness and spontaneity. It’s such a perfectly timed shot and to me captures ‘summer’ beautifully.

There are so many beautiful images out there and I simply enjoy seeing how others have captured events, emotions and moments in time in their own unique way.

question from the previous interviewee Dave Carswell: What does the future hold for your photography? What would you like to be doing in five, ten years time?

The future in my photography holds many more years of learning, fun and seeking inspiration from others – and I suspect an expanding collection of cameras. And I might even try my own home-developing one day! What I love most about flickr and being a part of MSM is the great source of inspiration and seeing how other photographers shoot and compose. I’ve learnt so much simply from observing other photographers’ techniques and images. My journey has only just begun.

please give us a question to ask the next person:
What is your favourite subject to shoot?

St Kilda palm trees | Polaroid
St Kilda palm trees by Lea Williams
Polaroid Colorpack II, Fuji FP 100-C

Thank you so much Lea! You can find Lea on flickr.

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Barbara Fischer • December 12, 2011

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  1. damo December 13, 2011 - 12:45 am

    Another wonderful article.

  2. emma May 28, 2012 - 11:45 pm

    You’ve been shooting for less than 2 years (!) ? Your polaroids are inspiring, Lea… & your eye for composition is a natural. That sepia shot from our BIFB show is one of my favourites of yours. Look forward to seeing more of you…

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