In this Photoswarm Pro photographer world we peer into the beautiful, dreamy world of fine art photographer Lauren Mashford and learn what inspires her, how she got started and about the creative process behind her wonderfully unique images.

Lauren Mashford Profile Photo

 

1. Tell us a little about your past history as a photographer. How did you get started?

I have always enjoyed art and started out as a painter. I love abstract images with evocative bright colours. For me, painting was escapism and I found it transported me to a different frame of mind. I then discovered the same kind of absorption in photography. For the first few years I only produced black and white photographs, spending hours in the darkroom, it lead me to develop bolder compositions with high contrast. I now think colour can create greater visual impact.

 

2. How did you first come to see yourself as a fine art photographer?

I studied Fine Art BA before going on to do a Photography MA so my influences are mostly artists. Although I am interested in fashion and the glamour it brings to an image, it is more important to me that the photograph projects an idea or a feeling that is thought-provoking and interesting rather than attractive but generic.

 

3. Can you tell us about your creative process?

Mostly the images are based on a story, either from a myth, children’s book, poem or rhyme. I usually extract a couple of lines and think about what they mean and how I can interpret them in a modern way. A lot of the images are connected to Shakespeare’s Ophelia and of course Everett Millais’ painting, as I am drawn to the sense of abandonment and helplessness. There is something about immersing yourself in water that I find so appealing.

 

4. Give us an idea of the types of equipment you use while creating your images.

I work alone, just the model and I, so I acquire or make any props and costumes needed. The models are mostly friends of mine so we discuss ideas while we do their make-up together. I have a hand-held Cannon SLR and generally just use available lighting.

 

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5. What steps do you take in during your post processing workflow?

I rarely have to alter anything on Photoshop, I manipulate the colours a little. I love Tim Walker because he creates dream scenes that actually exist rather than being put together digitally. This is a far more exciting and inspiring process.

 

6. What kind of impression do you hope to leave upon other’s who see your photographs?

I hope that they are absorbed into a dream state. My pictures are not exclusive, everybody should be able to relate. I try to create immediate visual impact with bright colours and shiny or metallic surfaces but with a darker edge that will get people to reflect.

 

7. How do you go about getting the best out of the models you shoot?

I always explain to them the message they are aiming to convey. Some of them are actors so they are effective at becoming a character. The results can be a bit like film stills.

 

8. How has Photoswarm helped with what you want achieve with your photography?

It has enabled me to present my photographs clearly and hopefully gain greater exposure to my work.

 

9. What aspect or feature of Photoswarm do you most value?

The simple layout and easy upload, I don’t like to spend much time on the computer and am not interested in technicalities.

 

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10. What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Fashion at the Edge: Spectacle, Modernity, and Deathlinessby Caroline Evans has some interesting concepts and discusses a lot of Alexander McQueen’s ideas. It explores the darker side to fashion and its temporary state.

 

11. Who inspires you?

I love David LaChapelle, Sarah Moon, Tim Walker, Pipilotti Rist, Jeff Bark and Kirsty Mitchell; who all stage exciting and ambitious creations with excellent use of colour. In terms of concept, I find LaChapelle’s work very clever and interesting.

 

12. Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I have insomnia and often feel like I am not entirely present, which is probably why I am so fascinated with Sleeping Beauty.

 

13. Reflecting back, what has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?

Only include in the frame what is important, eliminate anything that does not contribute to the picture.

 
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Lauren’s work can be found on her pro Photoswarm portfolio and you can also read other pro photographer interviews.