Ever since she picked up a camera at the age of 15, Lauren’s view of the world forever changed. Finding inspiration everywhere, her work is unpredictable, raw, and cool. Check her out below.
Say hello to Lauren:
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I’m from upstate New York. I haven’t really had the opportunity to travel much besides some nearby states. I am planning a trip to Tokyo in April though, so I’m really looking forward to that.
What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?
One day, I’m going to shoot an ASAP Rocky music video. Any time I see his stuff, it really inspires me and gets me hyped. In general, I want to work with all major rappers. I have a true love for the rap music and can see myself creating some really memorable things, given the opportunity.
How would you describe your visual style?
I actually don’t think I have one set style when it comes to my work. Every opportunity inspires me differently, but that’s one of my favorite parts about my art: it’s never predictable.
How do you find your inspiration?
I’ve lived in New York City for the last two years, and I have to say, most of my inspiration comes from random people I see in the streets, specifically their style. Something as simple as someone’s rings that I see can really get my creative wheels turning. Rap music also inspires me a lot. I recently took on painting, and I always need to have it playing while I work. There’s just something about hearing that one line or that beat that gives me the creative energy.
Tell us about your career. How did you get into it?
I started shooting about six years ago when I was a sophomore in high school. I had actually taken my first communications class simply because I had heard the teacher was cool. I had no intentions of actually falling in love with photo/video. I would say the last three years have been more consistent, as far as my workflow goes, but I can date the start of it all back to 2010.
What types of photography do you do?
I mostly focus on street photography, as well as fashion. Personally, I prefer street-style, fashion-type shoots because as I stated before, that’s where I get inspired the most, but studio work is always welcomed.
There was a point in my life where graffiti became a real topic of interest, and I made a documentary about it as well. I love seeing how far tags can travel too. I always keep my eyes out for familiar names. It’s grungy, but it’s art, and that’s why I love it.
What has been your biggest setback as a photographer?
Money. I think that can be said for a lot of careers, and life situations though. Gear gets expensive, and you tell yourself you need that lens for that shot, but then you realize it’s a $2,000 lens and you’re going to have to save up for it. So patience is definitely needed.
What are your favorite three photos you’ve taken?
Photography is competitive. How do you stand out?
At the end of the day, there are tons and tons of talented photographers out there. Everyone has something to offer, but I’d like to say it’s my personality that can set me apart. The physical photo is one thing, but it’s the human interaction, and the networking that goes into the photo, and I’m really confident about using my personality to get me to that next spot, or to have the edge over someone else.
What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?
Learn to shoot on manual, first off. Anything else is just a waste of time. I think the best thing someone can do is just go out and shoot. The more you shoot, the more familiar you’ll become with your camera, and what type of creative voice you have.
What is the best thing a model can do to make the most of a photoshoot?
Honestly, I think it all comes down to confidence. I’ve worked with people on both ends. There’s the ones who get in front of the camera, and I don’t even need to tell them what to do, they just go with what they’re feeling and the rest flows naturally. Then there are those who are nervous and need directing, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you aren’t confident, it reads in the photo incredibly well and just taints the whole image.
If you could photograph anyone in the world, who would it be?
This ties back into my answer to the previous question. I would love to shoot ASAP Rocky, specifically in a city like Tokyo. Fashion there is my biggest inspiration for my own personal style, and ASAP is a huge fashion icon. So pair the two together, and I have my dream shoot. There’s so much I could play off with the lights there. When I look at ASAP, he embodies both loves in my life: fashion and rap. So to be able to shoot someone who is the face of Dior, but the swag of a rapper, would be ultimate.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to being a great photographer?
Plain and simple, you have to hustle. No one ever gets anywhere from being lazy. If you want to be great at anything, you need to eat, breathe, and sleep whatever it is.
What do you think is the biggest thing holding you back in your photography?
I need to familiarize myself with studio lighting better. I was a cinematographer before I shot photos, and I’m so used to using natural light. I’ve almost completely forgotten about studio lights. Then I get faced with a situation where I’m using them, and I pretty much have to teach myself on the spot. That’s something I should definitely work on.
What’s the most inspiring photo you’ve ever seen?
That’s a really tough question. At the moment I would say Marcelo Cantu’s “LAVA-LAMP.”
What kind of gear do you have?
Right now, I shoot with the Sony a7s. I also own a Canon, but I haven’t had any desire to use it since I’ve switched to Sony. Primarily, I use the Zeiss 55 1.8, but I’ve also incorporated the 24-70 f4, and the 90 macro. I’m debating on purchasing the new 24-70 GM lens. My favorite is the 55 1.8, but if I can ever get my hands on the 50 1.4, I have a feeling that will change.
What’s one lighting tip you’d like to share with other photographers?
Natural light is your best friend. If you can go out and shoot 30 minutes before the sun sets, you’re golden – literally.
Do you have any projects you’d like to show off?
I did a big collaboration with my friend’s clothing company about six months ago. It was a really fun shoot because the model was actually an old roommate of mine. Any time I can collaborate with personal friends, I do.
What has photography done for you as a person? How has it changed you?
Photography has literally made me look at the world differently. I see everything like a movie and a creative opportunity. Even when I’m not consciously trying to, it’s happening. As a person, I think it’s really made me sure of myself and who I am, as well as what I want for myself. I always feel fortunate enough to have discovered what my true love is at such a young age. It’s a lot of pressure trying to figure out what you’re going to do with your life.
Who’s your biggest hero in your life?
My high school communications teacher, Gerry Sheedy. To this day, I still see him and am in constant contact with him. He has guided me through so many major problems and events in my life. I’ve never met someone with more wisdom. I can remember all the days I would cut class to hangout with him in the TV studio and talk about my problems. I don’t know where I would be without him.
What’s one of your biggest fears?
Aliens. I love them, but I hate them.
What will you be doing five years from now?
Five years from now, I’m going to be working alongside rappers or for a fashion company. There’s no doubt in my mind.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
Sky dive for sure. What an adrenaline rush.
For anyone that wants to get in touch with Lauren, here’s some contact information:
Lauren, thanks so much for taking the time to interview with us! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.