Leslie Williamson

Photographer Leslie Williamson travels often to shoot the remarkable interiors and belongings of her subjects. Given that she's been inside the homes and personal collections of some of the greatest artists, designers and tastemakers who've ever lived, we were especially curious to hear which of her possessions would make the cut...

Permanent Collection: Leslie, can you name one thing you most identify with your personal 'Permanent Collection'?

Leslie Williamson: It's a piece that the enamel artist June Schwarcz gave to me in 2014, made of electroplated copper wire mesh. It sits on a shelf in my office.

P.C.: How did you first meet June?

L.W.: I came to know June through photographing her home and studio for one of my projects. Although she was already a legend, and in her nineties, we had an immediate connection and became friends. I continued to visit and photograph her home and work until she passed away in 2015.

P.C.: What more can you tell us about her work?

L.W.: June was always experimenting and brimming with ideas and inspiration. She is best known for her vessels but on one of my last visits she showed me some flat piece she had been experimenting with. When she first brought this particular one out she was on the fence whether she even liked it or not. I, on the other hand, was completely besotted! A little while later it showed up in my mailbox.

P.C. What makes this piece especially meaningful to you?

L.W.: Beyond being beautiful and delicate, seeing it on my shelf reminds me of June, whom I truly miss. But it also reminds me of how fertile and life-giving the creative impulse is and that making art is a lifelong endeavor that can fuel you to the end. June was experimenting with new ideas in her work – this piece being one of them – until the very last days of her life. Her creative impulse was also a life force. I plan to live by her example.