Her photos got style, and so does she. But beyond that, I didn’t know all that much about her.
Which made her a perfect subject for an interview. So here we go:
How did you get into photography?
I don’t specifically remember when photography ‘clicked’ for me.
Although, it was around the time I entered high school or a little
before. My mom handed down her Canon A1 35mm camera to me around that
time, it was the same camera she bought right before I was born, and
took photos of me growing up with, so it was sort of perfect that I
ended up getting so much use out of it too. I still love that camera,
it’s one of my favorites to shoot with, but I think it’s sadly on it’s
last hurrah at this point.
What led you to pursue photography as a profession?
A month after I graduated high school in Olympia, WA, I moved to
Seattle, and knew that I wanted to pursue photography as a career. It
has been a passion for a long time, and I think it’s important to have
a career in something you love, or at least strive for it. Life is
short, and it should be lived well. I feel that I can give a lot
through photography specifically, and am never more satisfied than
when i get ‘the shot’.
I make a only a small portion of my income from it at this point, but
hope to make a full living from it eventually. My passion is so strong
for photography that I feel like it will some day happen for me as
long as I keep working hard at it. I can’t see myself doing anything
Has your family been supportive of your choice to be a professional
artist, as opposed to an accountant or lawyer? (my grandpa always
wanted me to be an accountant. said people would always need
My family has always been amazingly supportive over my choice to
pursue photography. My mom always wanted to be a photographer, but
never actually pursued it, so she loves to see me striving to make it
What, if anything, are you trying to accomplish with your photos?
I have always wanted to ‘make a difference’ through photography, as
cheesy as that sounds… but that is the simple, honest truth. I want
to travel and document things that are controversial, things that most
people have never seen. That would be ultimately fulfilling to me.
As of right now, I am working hard at my fashion photography and
building a portfolio in that direction, and I love adding a slight
sense of humor and obscurity to these photographs whenever possible.
Do you find photography to be cathartic?
I think that it is in some way. I seem to usually try to portray
things that would make others ‘feel’ something, and that is important
to me and a bit like therapy when I feel that I have gotten my point
across visually. But, I suppose every photographer strives for that,
right? I think that if I reached my goal of being able to travel and
document important things and events that I cared about, it would be
very cathartic and rewarding for me at that point.
I have never been very talented at other mediums of art such as
painting or drawing, so I think that’s why I was drawn to photography
as a way to express myself. I love the idea of being able to capture
moments, and having the ability to hold those moments in time forever.
I also think that photography is much more of a socially-based art
than others, especially when portraiture is the type of photography
that you do most. It’s allowed me to meet others and learn quite a lot
about someone through simply taking their photograph.
What effect do you think living in Seattle has had on your work?
Living in Seattle has had a large influence on my work. I have met
amazing, interesting people here that I have featured in my portraits;
along with many business-contacts. I think that moving to a city of
some sort is key to building an art-based career. Who you know
actually is important much of the time if you want to make money from
art… and you can usually find those sort of clients while living in
a city. But, most of all, I am just so thankful for the people I have
become close to in Seattle. I don’t know what I would do without their
inspiration, support, and them letting me snap a million photos of
them over the past few years.
This is going to take a long explanation, because at this point I sort
of hate shooting parties in bars and clubs. It feels too contrived,
like I am trying to be the next Cobrasnake, or something. To begin
with, I feel that I have always been someone that watches people
closely in social situations, and am able to catch candid moments of
those around me… and that’s why I feel that I am good at this sort
It all started when a local DJ named Pretty Titty (Clayton Vomero)
e-mailed me one day and invited me to take photos for his dance night
at a local club in Seattle called The War Room for his bi-monthly
event called Sing Sing. I was stoked to finally have a paying gig,
especially one that I was allowed to get drunk at! But, after a year+
of doing it, it’s just too predictable at this point. I made it into
Nylon magazine with some of my party photos for Sing Sing this past
year though and that was definitely an amazing thing that came from
it. I think that as of right now I just want to move on to more
interesting projects that will challenge me as a photographer, that’s
I am so stoked! It’s actually sort of funny, and I can’t believe that
I am admiting this, but the night that Obama won the election, they
blasted “Don’t stop believin’ By Journey in the middle of the Seattle
streets on Capitol Hill and ever since then I can’t hear that song
without shedding tears. But they are tears of joy, nonetheless. Right
now we are in very hard times, but the future looks bright, and I am
so damn proud of this country.
You know, I really do love both. These days I’ve been using digital as
my main format, because it’s cheaper than having to develop film
constantly, but it does take more time editing in the computer to get
the contrast/colors you desire… and truthfully, I’d rather be out
shooting than spending hours in front of my computer screen, which is
definitely the downfall of digital. Digital is definitely the way to
go when you are photographing events, because then you know that you
definitely got ‘the shot’ that you were wanting.
Although, I will always think that there is a special quality with
film that cannot be touched with digital. I have been longing lately
to pick up my medium format/35mm cameras once again… and I think I
am going to start shooting with them this next time I go out to take
portraits. When you get a good shot on film, it’s always ten times
more rewarding than when you get a good shot with digital.
Thanks to Lauren for the interview, and the great photos!
You can find her work here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/laurenmax
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