Heath Ledger, the Australian actor and director who captured the hearts of millions in his numerous roles, was a man obsessed with the art of cinema.
His performances in Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Night and A Night’s Tale are arguably film’s that Ledger is most widely associated with but the likes of Lords of Dogtown, Ned Kelly, Monster’s Ball and the rest hold significance to some of Ledger’s biggest fans. The point being, of course, that the actor managed to draw personal ties with an endless stream of admirers regardless of the role.
His commitment to his artistry was a factor that separated him from the rest, an ability that was widely respected by his peers. Following his tragic death, Daniel Day-Lewis paid the most fitting of tributes to Ledger while accepting his SAG Award: “It’s always been the work of other actors, and there are many actors in this room tonight, including my fellow nominees who have given that sense of regeneration and…Heath Ledger gave it to me,” Day Lewis said in 2008. “He was unique, he was perfect,” he added.
Ledger’s desire to learn from the bottom up was something that built the foundations for his brilliance. While cinema was his overall success, his love for photography was a creative output that followed him around relentlessly.
Saul Frank, owner of a Perth camera store, sold Ledger his first camera which included the Rolleiflex 3.5F twin-lens reflex camera and a string of Polaroid cameras. “You have to be pretty dedicated to use a Rollei,” Frank once said in remembering Ledger’s work eithc. “But he loved photography, so there was no issue.”
“Obviously he was a real creative,” Frank added. “He loved the precision and the gear but also to own something like a Holga — completely different price point, completely different image and quality, and you can just have fun with it.”
Here, we remember Ledger in a series of Polaroid photographs taken from his youth, his private life and from continuity shots pictured on set of multiple of his films: