Posted by: Admin | July 31, 2010

THE SATURDAY INTERVIEW – 5

ANNABEL WILLIAMS – At the top of her game.

Annabel Williams - still innovating

This week I am delighted to feature photographer, Annabel Williams here on project50. Lively and energetic, Annabel has been an innovator and an inspiration in the world of professional photography for over 25 years.  I asked  her how it all began.

“I was a teacher, dealing with emotionally disturbed boys, which stood me in good stead when it came to understanding how children behave. Then, when I was 21, I attended a friend’s wedding.  Her uncle was supposed to be taking photographs but it clearly wasn’t working out, so she asked me to take over.”  And the rest, as they say, is history.

“I shot around 70 weddings the following year, all in the now popular reportage style, but it was new and fresh then.” Wedding photography wasn’t the only area to benefit from the Annabel effect. She is also the inventor of the “Makeover”.

“My sister worked for Trevor Sorbie in London and we decided to offer makeover packages.”  Seeing the transformative effect these packages had on women spurred her on to contact the Clothes Show, offering her services. “I agreed a TV deal and everything took off.  I was shooting 4-5 women a day, 5 days a week.” Why does she think it was so popular? “It’s all about giving women confidence. A good or bad photograph will make or break you.”

Confidence is a word that Annabel uses often. “Photography doesn’t have to be technical, especially with the cameras on the market today.” In her books, and in her training and mentoring work, Annabel aims to build confidence , especially amongst women.

“If there’s one piece of advice I would want to give to my 20 year old self it would be to believe in your dreams, and have the confidence.  The main thing I have learnt in life is to have the confidence and determination to just get on with whatever you really want to do.  To listen to your intuition and if something feels wrong, understand that it probably IS wrong, so don’t do it! Creative people just know when things feel right – they can’t help but to just go with the flow when something feels really good/inspiring/motivating.”

Annabel’s instincts have certainly stood her in good stead in her career to date. What motivates her now?

Roller-tastic at 50

“Well, it’s certainly not fame! I just can’t stand to be bored, I’m always looking for the next challenge. I seem to reinvent myself every 10 years or so.  It’s not something I do consciously, it just seems to work out that way.” Currently, Annabel is the face of Asda Photocentre’s “Smile” Magazine, a perfect forum for her confidence-building mission.

Come on Barbie: let's go party!

Annabel is such a dynamic, creative individual, I want to know how she felt about hitting 50 – did she celebrate her birthday? “Oh yes! On the actual day I was in Key West, so we had a party there. When I got back to the UK I had a Barbie and Ken party – I dressed up as roller-skating Barbie and stayed on my skates until 4am!”  So the thought of growing older doesn’t depress her? Annabel’s answer to that so inspired me, I’ll let her tell it like it is, in her own words:

“50 means to me the chance for a whole new reinvention.  It gives me the chance to really focus on what I want from the rest of my life, and pack as much in as possible, but only the stuff I enjoy.  There is no time now for wasting it, being bored or doing things that are not inspiring or motivating.  I want to spend time in the places I love, with the people I enjoy being with, and get rid of all the negative aspects of my life, as there is not time now to waste on those.  I want to shelve all the things I can do in the future when I may be unfit, or unable to do the things I can now – so that I can look forward to them in my 70’s.  For now I need to do the things I enjoy that require energy and determination!”

I could easily talk to Annabel for hours and when we part company we agree that she’ll keep us posted on her journey through 50. We’ll catch up with Annabel in 2011 for another dose of her own unique brand of inspiration!

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