LILY BERTRAND WEBB
Do you have a favourite photograph and what does it make you feel?
I have lots of favorites photographs, but the one photo that I always look at is Eve Arnold’s portrait of a young bar girl in a brothel in Cuba. Although it was shot in 1954, it’s a timeless portrait and Arnold has captured her sadness and isolation, and her great beauty so powerfully.
If you could take anyones portrait picture who would it be?
Sadly, she recently passed away but if I could take any portraits, it would be the wonderful Jane Bown. She is one of few portrait photographers that I take inspiration from. A regular photographer for the Observer, she has photographed Michael Caine, Bjork, Samuel Beckett and many more. She was often seen walking around town with her film camera in a plastic shopping bag! Bown, who strongly believed in never spending more than 15 minutes with her subjects, produced beautiful insightful and timeless portraits. I would have loved to take her portrait and listen to her legendary stories over a cup of tea in her studio!
What is it about shooting in film that inspires you?
Nothing beats the feeling shooting on film and running back to the lab to get the negatives developed! Film never ceases to surprise me. The photographs are always so crisp, the colours exquisite.
How would you describe London to a tourist?
Brilliant, booming, and beautiful.
What is the best gift you have ever received?
My favourite camera that I love shooting on is the Mamiya 645. An old family friend who is a photographer and had stop shooting on film gave me the camera. He is always surprised to hear that there is a new generation of photographers who are strongly using film!
If you didn’t live in London where would you live and why?
Although I have yet to go there, I would love to visit Mexico City. I’ve always loved Edward Weston’s & Tina Modetti photos of Mexico and Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera’s colourful lifestyle back in the day. It’s somewhere that I’ve always imagined would be a beautiful place to go with my camera.
What are the books by your bedside table?
Women photographers photo book, Jack Kerouac On the Road & my favourite childhood book, The Story of Babar
How do you zone out?
I go skateboarding with my Dad in Hyde Park, when we both have free time to spare. He taught me to skate and surf from a young age and now it’s almost a like ritual that we do together.
Is community important to you? are you involved in your local community?
I’ve grown up and live in West London, Westbourne Park. There are a large group of family friends that we have grown up with that still live in the area. My mum’s old school friend is one of the flower stall ladies on Portobello Road! Recently, Portobello road faced redevelopment plans to develop the market with Westfield style shops. More than 15,000 people have signed an online petition opposing the proposals. I’m very proud to be part of a strong close-knit community that wants to protect our famous unique area.
What defines a confident woman to you?
What is your secret weapon?
Lipreading! I lost my hearing from the age of 2, and taught myself to lipread! Very powerful skill to have when I want to be nosey!
Do you have a role model or a mentor?
My beautiful, young sister, Bellaray. Although she is 6 years younger than me and only 20 years old, she is wiser and bolder that me. She just got an internship for PEN American Center, in NY and will be moving there in July after graduating from King’s College with a Classic degree! She is also a amazing, talented poet.
If you were a London bus driver for the day who would be on your bus and where would you go?
It would be fun to take a classic London bus and drive around Europe, picking up people along the way! A bit like Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Imagine that…!
Do you have a favourite website you can’t live with out? or app?
I have an app on my phone, Quote of the Day, where I get a quote every morning at 8am. It’s a great way to start the day with wise words & wisdom.
Do you have an unforgettable place that you have travelled to?
Dominica, where my mum’s family are from. Although I was only 4 years old when I last visited, I will never forget the smell, the light and the waterfalls. I’m hoping to go there again with my Bellaray later this year,
What are your tips to staying in touch and grounded in todays crazy world?
Talk to your best friend every day and at least few times a day!
What would be the soundtrack to your life and why?
‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ Bob Marley. According to my mum, this song was playing while she was giving birth to me and is the reason why I’m a ‘positive, bright’ person!
Words to live by?
One of the quotes I recently got on my phone is ‘Have the passion, take the action & magic will happen! Bar Fefaeli.