Music, art, photography are some of the many talents Lauren Ruth Ward has. But no matter the medium, her priority is to express herself and tell stories through her art. Since MySapce and emo music, she used her hair, her clothes, and Polaroids to build her own colorful world. Since MySpace, she evolved Social Media platforms but her authenticity and essence through her art remain the same. Film has been a way for her to shoot with intention and purpose. With her La Sardina she shot her friends under the sunny Palm Spring sky, and even at the depth of their pool. You can also enter a giveaway to win Lauren's customized La Sardina by scrolling down to the end of this article!
Hey Lauren! It's great to have you here at Lomography! Can you tell us a bit about your photography background?
Thank you so much for having me. I’ve been a fan of Lomography for quite some time now so this is very thrilling 2012, I purchased a Nikon D3200. Great camera but to be honest, it wasn’t a wise starter camera for someone like me who is not passionate on the technical side and just wants to get down to creating. I had a hard time comprehending it so I went back to film. A little over two years ago I purchased the Fuji XT 20 Mirrorless, I’m obsessed. One of my favorite features has got to be double-exposure. I’ve also fallen in love with my Nana’s Miranda 35 mm from the late 60s. The La Sardina answered a prayer, double exposures with 35 mm. I’ve been taking my photography more seriously these past couple years so the “don’t think, just shoot“ Lomo mentality was a really nice vacation from the preciousness I’ve been feeling.
Why do you still choose to shoot film?
I choose to shoot on film because it’s more intentional. Also, I love taking 2-3 portraits of multiple people throughout a week or month, forgetting who I shot, then being surprised after the roll is developed. It’s like my past self is sending my future self a gift.
How do your music and your photography mix together?
My photography and music are very intertwined. Sometimes it’s a tool I use to create my own images and sometimes it’s an action that is a part of my creative process. I take a lot of my own photos: single artwork, album artwork, merch, promo, etc. Depending on the concept, if the self-portrait is impossible for me to shoot myself, I’ll attempt it just to get answers on what I’m really looking for and then bring that draft to another photographer to execute. I’ve also had full songs come to me while I am photographing. It’s a multi-purposeful creative outlet.
From the pictures you sent us, do you have a favorite one? Can you tell us the story behind it?
I think my favorites are the double exposures I took underwater. My partner and I celebrated our five year anniversary in Palm Springs. We invited a couple of friends. Everyone was tested prior to the vacation. It was such a beautiful week. I put the camera in two strong-hold Ziploc bags. I tightened the bags around the lens with a rubber band to keep the image as clear as possible. and in the pool, we went!
Your pictures show people and a special bond between you and your subjects. How do your relationships affect your art?
I love collaborating. I love bringing people into my creative world and I love visiting theirs. My relationships affect my art greatly. I am extremely fortunate to have many hard-working, talented artists in my sphere. Seeing them do makes me want to do. I’m also very driven by encouragement and can always take some thing from constructive criticism. I am inspired by not only my peers but our bonds. My art would be very different if I was a less collaborative creator.
What are the challenges you face being a multidisciplinary artist in 2020? And what do you like about it?
The only challenges I face being a multidisciplinary artist in 2020 is allowing the less productive days to exist peacefully. I am a busybody, and I like that about myself. But the truth is a week of productivity can sometimes lead to a week of sluggishness. What I like about being a multidisciplinary artist in 2020 is taking advantage of the free time we are being given due to the pandemic. These past couple years I’ve been very fortunate to be able to tour consistently. When I’m home, I am nonstop. There are creative to-do‘s I have accomplished these past six months that I would have never been able to had it not been for the world coming to a halt. Though I wish it was on better terms, I am still thankful for the timeout. This immense gratitude I feel multiple times a day, every day, is what is keeping me going.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from everything. A colorful bedspread, lyrics in a song I’ve known since I was five, a haircut I just gave someone, something beautiful happening to my friend, something painful I’ve been avoiding, a collaboration with an incredible camera/film company… everything.
What did you like about shooting with the “La Sardina”?
I love everything about the La Sardina. Like I mentioned above, the “don’t think, just shoot“ mentality was very freeing. Creating double exposures on film was a first for me. My current film camera is very old, the lightbulbs for the flash are far and few so having a flash on a 35mm opens up so many possibilities, especially when using 200 ISO film. I was pleasantly surprised with the brilliant exposure considering all the different lighting I shot in and the little work i had to do. I also had such a blast personalizing the camera for the giveaway. I cannot wait to personalize my own. All of this plus it’s tiny, light weight body makes me so excited to take this camera everywhere post-pandemic.
Any advice for people who might want to shoot with it?
Buy this camera. It is affordable, extremely user-friendly and with the flash, you can conquer any lighting scenario no matter your ISO.
What are your projects for the rest of the year?
I have a list! Most things I am keeping secret... I launched my Patreon. I’ve been working on it for months, very proud of the handmade perks and excited to better connected with my fans. The day before that, I released a nine song Elliott Smith tribute album on his birthday called “Happy Birthday Elliott”. All three of my bands, Lauren Ruth Ward, Aging Actress and Heaven Electric, are all recording and releasing music this year. Looking forward to taking photos of studio time with my Lomo.
Get a Chance to Win a "La Sardina" Camera customized by Lauren!
The giveaway will be open until Thursday, August 27, 2020, and the winner will be announced on Friday, August 28.
Note: The giveaway is open for US and Canada residents.