by: Teena Kang

August 15, 2011

Who: Leslie Williamson
What she does: Photographer
Where: San Francisco

What’s on her mind today: Just got back from NY last night and I am in the midst of planning the next 6 months of my life. I am considering a completely nomadic existence – Selling most of my possessions, putting the rest in storage and just working from one shoot to the next…trying to figure out the logistics of all this. An exciting prospect!

What she is currently working on: I am currently working on a new project on different craftsmen/women and the evolution of how they got to do what they do. All told through photographs of their homes, studios and work and of course the little stories that go along with those images. I’m also working on Handcrafted Modern Europe, the next book in the HCMod series – in planning stages for that – and 2 fine art series that I cannot disclose the details of…sorry!

What does she think there is too much of, and too little of:
I think there can never be enough love and good attitude. Life can be wonderful or awful depending on your attitude and the way you decide to see things. I feel like people sometimes are miserable because they choose (or have learned) to see their circumstances as bad. If they decide to see them in a more positive light they would be far happier. I guess it may sound simplistic but it is no less true. Attitude is everything! What is there too much of? Reality TV.

With whom she would most like to go on a “ tête à tête”:
The list is long…I would love to have a conversation with Alberto & Diego Giacometti together. Such an interesting pair. Alberto gets most of the accolades, but his brother was so pivotal to his success. I would love to witness the dynamic between them for myself first hand. Lucien Freud, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Wilhelm Hammershoi, Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, Francis Bacon, Madame Gres, Audrey Hepburn, the list goes on…and of course I would want to photograph them and their homes and studios after the tête à tête. Now you notice all these people are dead. Yes, I know (I am shaking my head and laughing at myself right now)…there are people that are living I would love to have a tête à tête with – Enzo Mari being first on the list! David Byrne, Ilse Crawford, Dries Van Noten, etc…

What her most striking moment was: I hope I have yet to experience that. I have had so many amazing moments, but to think the most striking is behind me is not something I can fathom. The best is yet to come! At this point in my life it is a tie between photographing a brain surgery (I was listening to a man’s cells fire as he was moving his toes – he was awake for the surgery), and being allowed to photograph all the homes I have photographed – especially for Handcrafted Modern. I get to spend two days in these houses and so much of the time people forget I am there, so I just can really take everything in. There is a beauty in the stillness of peoples homes, and it is such an intimate experience.

What she considers a fashion “faux-pas”: I actually think there aren’t any. There are plenty of things I would NEVER do, but if someone feels good in what they are wearing, who am I to say it is a “faux-pas”. I love the boldness of people!

What cracks her up:
Anything and everything and more often than not myself. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself…sometimes it is the only way…Lately a website of bad taxidermy had me cracking up. And this 38 Special video…so fantastic! And I guess this brings us back to the fashion faux-pas question. Oh the 80′s….

With whom she would like to grow old: My friends, family and a special someone whom I have yet to find. Just like everyone, I imagine…

What she would like to leave to future generation: I plan to continue shooting places and people who inspire and interest me and at the end of all this (I have enough project ideas to shoot well into my 90′s), I see that there will be a large body of work (both photographs and writing) that documents how we lived in this time and the common humanity that we all share.

What her Wild Wish is: Right now my mind is filled with getting projects funded so my wild wish would be to find a benefactor to support my projects for the rest of my life in a no holds barred kind of way. Anything I want to pursue, they would say, “Sure! I’ll bankroll you! No strings attached.” That would be bliss!

For more info on Leslie Williamson click here.


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