The day feels surprisingly warm. You can hear the rain outside but the sun is shining and there is a beautiful light coming through the white lace curtains.
You need to see this.
The shoes come off just for the pleasure and honor of touching the wooden floors. I notice a window was left open when the curtain does a little welcoming dance.
Here we are.
Myself and Leanne Surfleet.
Leanne is like a little pixie, I could tell you she floats instead of actually walking but I don’t know if you would believe me.
Leanne is freelance photographer based in the UK. She works with analog and instant cameras.
This you can read on her bio, and this I will tell you myself; she takes amazing self polaportraits.
Did I just make that word up?
One year ago, almost to the day, our dear Urban Muser had a little three of me with Leanne, where she talked a bit about inspiration and herself.
You’d think one year later I would be catching up to know about evolution and learning curves and all the growth.
I’m sorry. I really want to learn more about the pixie floating over the wooden floors.
I want to know about the early years, the dark corners, the real side that pushes us forward, even when we don’t see it.
“I guess in the beginning my inspiration does come from boredom & loneliness and then progresses from there. Inspiration also comes to me through light and how it is filtered in to my view through windows, shadows and reflections.”
Do you see or feel light like this? How it can evoke a mood?
She does. Beautifully.
But lets go back to the beginning, those first camera days, before the path revealed itself.
“I got a little compact digital camera for my 18th birthday and would mainly just shoot silly things like me and my friend pulling ugly faces or out and about walking around…”
Personally I find it hilarious how many of us start by shooting the exact same things, the others and how we view the world.
“Then I think one day it was out of boredom I turned the camera on to myself and took my first ‘arty’ kind of photograph. I got a really good reaction from my friends on social media sites and so it triggered something in my mind to want to try and capture more of these different kind of photos. I was obviously very limited with my 3mp digital camera and one of my friends gifted me his Vivitar 35mm SLR and encouraged me to experiment with different films & processes such as ‘slide processing’. So I went out with my camera without even knowing how to use it (the light meter, aperture / shutter speed) and just shot everything i saw. I got it cross processed and out of a roll of 36 exposures, there were only 2 correct exposures! But I fell in love with the colours and the excitement of film instantly!”
So there we have it, once again, as if one more time was needed, it is not about the camera.
The pixie smiles. She knows about the magic in cameras.
“I also love to experiment with old and expired films and older cameras that may let in light leaks. I think imperfections are the best things that can come from shooting film, for me personally.”
Oh the beauty in the imperfection.
Despite the warm day, with good light, we both feel the need to light a fire.
The smell and the extra warmth is needed, by the soul.
And have you ever danced by yourself in fire light? Well the shadows are pure music.
Imperfect, really. This is a fictional fire, one you must see with your dreamy eyes and imagination filled heart.
“I started shooting Polaroids in college after picking up a Polaroid 600 camera at a car-boot sale. Back then Polaroid were still producing their 600 film so it was readily available and a lot cheaper than it is now. When I finished college I went through a bit of a weird stage of feeling kind of like a failure for not going to university and not having a job and would spend all my days alone in my house. This is where I started taking self-portraits & using lots of different types of Polaroid cameras & film.”
I don’t want to point fingers but Leanne’s portraits were the final drop on an almost full bucket of “I should really get a Polaroid to replace the one that broke…”, just saying. Not pointing.
We are all inspired by the work of people around us, it’s just how the world turns.
With luck, bravery and perseverance we find our balance.
And sometimes, we find the others.
“I enrolled on a 2 year photography course where my wonderful tutor introduced me to the work of Nan Goldin, Francesca Woodman & Duane Michals, who are now still my biggest inspirations.”
And with that note, I leave this pixie to do her magic, a beautiful human being I feel happy to have met.
I hope she inspired you as well.
Now go outside, find the light and click.