Artist Statement – Len Williamson

YOU are amazing and beautiful. If you point a camera at yourself many times you can discover how true this is. All you need to do is look and then look again.

I lucked in to a project called The Truth & Beauty of Me. Cemre Yesil, my tutor, asked me if there was any pain in my life. With my wife and Princess suffering dreadfully from chronic multiple sclerosis I could say there was a lot. My project for my MA in Photography at Falmouth University explored this pain with my camera. I shot, looked, thought, discussed, felt and shot again to continue the cycle. I laid out the images for anyone interested to rearrange, remove or suggest other shots to make.

At first there was only deep misery and blackness in images of me alone. As I looked I became frustrated that I could not represent what I felt no matter how hard I tried. I searched my images for evidence of what I was feeling and could not see it. As I looked again and again I began to see I was more complete than the narrow focus of the pain I was seeking to show.

Whilst I was suffering the pain of my Princess’ illness I could see I was also defiant and strong. While sad I also laughed. When I cried I could remember and act to take a picture of myself in the act.

Cristina Nuñez talks in her ‘Portrait Experience’ of taking portraits of me, me and other and me and the world. Laura Hynd, another tutor, got me out of a rut by telling me to stop trying to represent and make meaning and instead ‘notice your emotions and what is happening with your senses and see what emerges.’

These ideas got me dancing in a skirt on my terrace to T Rex played loud with my Princess pressing the shutter each time she saw a shot.

I found myself resting my head in ivy at sunset. Others got involved as Ella, my 8 year old granddaughter asked if she could do the same shot of herself.

Clare Bottomley, yet another tutor, got me to play with sizing, sequencing, gathering, placing and cropping images. Make the viewers eyes dance around the page, make it big, small, left and right. Wow, what a lot of variables the tutors have given me to play with.

The me I am exploring has a degree in Mathematics from Liverpool University, a Masters in Psychology from Birkbeck College London, a training in Gestalt Systems with the Cleveland Institute in the USA. In my working career I ran trading teams and organisations. I lived and worked in the UK, Belgium, USA and Singapore. I then coached senior executives in large organisations for 10 years. I now live in Spain where I am studying for my Masters in Photography at Falmouth University.

The enquiry in to myself continues. The process has been therapeutic and revealing. It feels like it is just beginning but I can say that it makes me realise how amazing and beautiful I am.

This is also true of YOU. You are amazing and beautiful. If you want to explore the evidence for this then let’s get together. We will shoot, look, think, discuss, feel and shoot again. You will see the truth to be seen.

Categories: Coursework SP, Project Development SP, Sustainable Prospects

LEN

I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make
decisions.

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.