Leon Cole owns forty cameras. Walk into the spare room of he and wife Laura’s family home in Bendigo, and bam! You’re hit by a wall of them.

Writer: Megan Spencer – Photographer: David Field

His collection of predominantly old school cameras includes box brownies, an iconic Pentax 6×7 with a wooden handle, and one digital SLR.
In a nest of medium-format beauties is a classic 1960s Japanese silver-and-black Kowa Six.
“It was their Hasselblad knock-off,” he laughs, with the intimate product knowledge of a fanatic.
Perhaps the one of which this 34 year-old father-of-two is most fond, is the royally named Zeiss Ikon Contessa, a 35mm camera that belonged to his grandfather.
Sixty years of active service are etched into the matching leather case, worn from use by both photographers.
So devoted is Leon to photography, at any one time five cameras are loaded and ready to go.
Leon’s work has been seen in exhibitions at Bob Boutique, the Old Fire Station and at Bendigo TAFE where Leon studied Visual Art.
Finding wedding photography too pressured – and that he didn’t quite fit the format working in posed kids photography – it was through his other great passion, skateboarding, that Leon found his feet as a photographer, often shooting long-exposure images when out at night on his board.
“That was the first photo I sold,” he says back to a night-time self-portrait of which he is particularly proud. In November 2007, Launch Bendigo was the first group exhibition Leon had ever shown in. He was nervous.
“A guy came from Melbourne and bought it. I was stoked.”…