FilmNeverDie shooter - An Interview with Lesley Davidson


So, where do you come from & what do you do for a living?

I was born in Victoria and lived in suburban Melbourne most of my life. I moved to Tasmania in 2007. I’m currently retired.

How young are you? even if you are old in age we believe you are young in heart, because you still want to shoot film :D

I’m 60 years old and have been shooting film since I was 10. I switched to digital early, in 2001. Couldn’t wait, I thought digital was magic.

How did you become inspired to shoot on film?

It wasn’t until June this year that I became serious about photography. I’ve always been interested but ended up just taking snapshots, because, life. Good photography is hard but I feel shooting manually with film will really help me to become a better photographer.

A flea market find (Ensign Selfix 120 pocket folding camera) is what triggered my desire to go back to film. I was fascinated by this beautiful old girl and wanted to learn to use her.

I also recently started a blog about being a student of photography and was documenting all the cameras I’ve owned over the years which in turn inspired a desire to find and use these vintage cameras again.

My photographer husband is my teacher and while he loves the vintage camera technology, he has little interest in going back to film (unless it’s Polaroid). I’m on my own there.

What format do you shoot? 35mm, Polaroid, 8 x 10 etc

I shoot 110 because my favourite vintage camera (Minolta 110 SLR Zoom – which I owned in 1979) used it, and I’ve recently acquired another one of these funny little cameras.

But I’ve also started using 120 because the Ensign Selfix uses this film.

Why do you like this format?

I’m being gifted with a Minolta Autocord TLR for Christmas which takes 120 film so this one will become my main street photography camera (once I learn how to use it). I also am intrigued with square format 6 x 6 which I feel will be a challenge to compose well.

For fun I’ll use the Minolta 110 because life and photographs aren’t always meant to be serious. For everything else I have a Sony digital – sorry not a total convert – I still love digital.

Where do you see the future of analogue photography?

I can’t see a huge return to analogue – digital is far too easy and assessable for that to ever happen. But analogue has its place and I can see it quietly purring away in the background waiting to seduce those who really do love photography as art.

Of course, for all the hipster creatives there is the wonderful Lomography movement which will certainly keep film alive and kicking for a long time to come.

What is a dream project that you want to work on?

I’m about to embark on developing my first roll of film, something I never got a chance to try when analogue was king. I also joined the Flickr group 100 Strangers where the idea is to take street portraits of 100 people after introducing yourself and getting to know your subject a little.

So, putting those 2 goals together, I would love to take my 100 stranger portraits using the vintage analogue Minolta Autocord TLR and developing the film myself.

Even more ambitiously I would like to learn to make prints from my film, rather than scanning the negs. Magic indeed.

Where can we find out more about your work?

I’ve been taking snapshots for 50 years but am a beginner at photography so my body of work is erratic but (hopefully) improving. Be aware that most of the stuff you see here is digital, I'm still working developing my first roll of film.

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