Art has always been a part of New York City-based photographer Lauren Lepore's life. Growing up with a mother who could turn easter eggs into artistic relics and create Halloween costumes worthy of the most eccentric fashion designers, Lauren organically found her place in the arts. After taking photography classes in middle school, painting in high school, ceramics in college, and collage in trade school, she now combines all her arts and craft to create individual and unique pieces of art.
"Photography is and always will be the greatest love in my life."
At 13, she took it upon herself to master the art of photography to make her mother proud, as it was the only skill her mother couldn't do perfectly. More than a decade later, she's still learning and experimenting with photography. She shot her latest zine 'Intimately Disposable' with a the Lomography Simple Use Film Camera CN 400, and created an intimately colorful diary.
Hello Lauren! It's great to have you again here at Lomography. First off, can you tell us why do you choose to shoot film over digital?
After a handful of years of shooting, digital became too simple to me. I could take over 1,000 photos during a photoshoot, have 200 be great, and 50 be phenomenal. It was always a guarantee, and even when it was iffy there was always Photoshop. I want to always test my capabilities as a photographer and I put my passion into every photograph I take. I found that film was the best way to do this. Every photo shot on film matters so much because you don't get 1000 shots for a shoot, you get however many rolls of 24 or 36 you can afford.
What relationship do you have with photography?
Photography is and always will be the greatest love in my life. I found it at such a young age that it became a best friend to me. No matter what life threw at me, I always had a camera by me to be able to capture the good and bad. I’ve taken time away from my relationship with photography for periods of months so I could grow as a person and apply a new mindset to my passion. I can say that photography has saved me time and time again, and even with my breaks, I go back into it fresh-eyed and hopeful to just capture more.
Can you tell us more about the story and concept behind the zine?
‘Intimately Disposable’ was a series I created last year when @throwawaycam sent me a disposable Fujifilm camera. I made the first installment of this series with the pictures I shot on the camera to show the capabilities of disposables. The series is meant to highlight the importance of the photographer behind the camera, rather than the camera itself. It's the eyes behind the lens that matter the most when taking a photo, the camera is just a tool used to capture it. I ended up falling in love with the reloadable disposable and shot them for about a year until I beat them up enough they started falling apart. All of the photographs depicted in this zine series are intimate moments shot in my day to day life on a camera that can easily be disposed of. I found beauty in the fact that although the cameras may no longer exist in my possession, the photos will forever. That's how “Intimately Disposable” came to be.
You have a very strong style, being close to your subjects, and using flash and bold colors. How is this a reflection of your style?
The reactions I have to events that happen are on a similar spectrum to my photography: capture, process, explore. If I’m seeing I want my audience to feel as if it wasn’t me as the photographer taking the photography, but as if they were experiencing memories.
The things we remember for a long time we remember for a reason, something has caused it to stick in our minds.
In my photography I recreate what makes memories so strong by bringing out contrast between the colors and effects in the photograph and the actual subject. What you see is not only what’s going on in the photo but the essence around it, the feeling within it.
Your layout is very interesting, why did you choose to do it this way?
I love being able to mix my different art forms all into one. I’ve been big into collaging lately and often collage pieces made out of my zine misprints. I decided that the perfect way to display all my creative passions was to create a zine. Throughout the years I’ve realized that while shooting I’m always cataloging photos into folders of similar photos I’ve taken. I try to create zine pages that bleed seamlessly from one to another, allowing the viewer to take the photographic journey with me. By collaging the pages, I allow a seamless journey from page to page and view multiple cohesive storylines.
Do you have a favorite picture? And can you tell us the story behind it?
My favorite picture is definitely the spread with the two wrestlers bleeding. I got invited by an old friend, Nick Karp, to a death match wrestling in the back of a bar. Nick is an amazing photographer who intimately photographs wrestling across the country. He told me I would absolutely love to photograph this so I met him at the Lucky 13 saloon, a metal bar. I caught the end of the match and was blown away by the wrestlers pictured in my photographs, Cassanova Valentine and Lowlife Louie. Their wrestling was an art form, full of blood and pain. I had never seen anything like it before.
The Contact sheet spread is a beautiful narrative visual story. Can you tell us more about the storyline behind it?
The Lomography Simple Use Cameras negatives are so colorful and vivid that the easiest way for me to work on the zine was to create a contact sheet. I could look at the color of the photos easily and sort them better as a contact sheet rather than photos. I tried to fade the colors in the photos throughout the zine, matching colors where I could. I realized I could use the contact as a piece of art in itself. It’s an overtly colorful outlook of my life. I used the contact sheet as the insides of my zine covers to give the viewer a little tease of what's to come.
Do you have other projects we should be on the lookout for?
I’m currently working on a project that is very dear to my heart. Next month I will be releasing my zine titled, ‘Happy After All’, that will feature an expose on my battle with mental health and emotional well being through the use of intimately collaged art. I’ve gathered medical documents, notes from doctors, medical assessments, and drug tests to collage amongst the journals and photographs I kept during those times. By being open and honest with myself, it’s allowed me to share my story easily with others, helping bring these topics to light in a world that is usually very dark on them. So many people around the world deal with mental health issues yet it is still such a stigmatized topic. By being able to create art to heal from my trauma, I’m giving a piece of myself to others to help them heal as well.
Get a Chance to Win a copy of "Intimately Disposable"
We are giving away two copies of Lauren's newest zine "Intimately Disposable" !
The giveaway will be open until Monday 25, 2020.
Note: The giveaway is open for US and Canada residents only.
written by tamarasaade on 2020-05-09