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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

Woman Crush Wednesday: Lauren Withrow

Woman Crush Wednesday: Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

Interview by Lucy Farrell

From her photography to her personal life, Lauren Withrow lives in a world of contrast. At 23, Lauren is an immensely ambitious photographer who has moved from the breezy pastures of rural Texas to the thumping pavements of New York City. Her work has already been exhibited in England, Texas and New York and there is no sign of her slowing down. You can check out more of Lauren’s work here. 

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

There is a stark contrast between your personal and editorial work. How do you feel about going from the natural intimacy of self portraits to the world of staged fashion photography?

I enjoy the duality in the two. My personal work exists mainly from in-the-moment experiences and events, driven purely by an emotional state. Therefore, not much is staged. Within fashion, I can start with a blank slate and build the story, often pulling references from my personal work, or from films I’ve seen.

Your editorials manage to exude femininity through fashion yet portray dark settings What draws you to shooting fashion in this specific style? 

The style that I shoot fashion is loosely based on how I shoot my personal work and I wanted there to be a cohesive nature despite having different subject matters. In my personal work, I want to show emotional vulnerability and openness, but the strength and power that comes with revealing those personal thoughts. To translate that concept into fashion, my aim is to have a subject/character that appears to have a story, shows an emotion to fit that story, but also has a strength about their nature. It is much more subtle, but I am wanting to make it more prominent in future projects.

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

Your ongoing series Once the Sun Comes Up encapsulates the experience of growing up in a rural town. How has your Texan upbringing inspired your work?

While my hometown isn’t a diverse cultural melting pot (like a bigger city), you meet people of all different upbringings here. Aesthetically it has inspired the visuals of vast landscapes, deteriorating spaces, and the subject matters of my images, it has mostly inspired how I approach documenting a subject. I do my best to not judge. I want to know a person’s story, to understand them more before I take a photo. I want to show them respect.   

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

As the series is ongoing, it must be weird when you travel back home from such a hectic city like New York. How has alternating between two paradoxical localities affected your creative process?

It has mostly affected the way I approach people that I photograph. In a place like my hometown, people are often more willing to sit and chat, sometimes for hours with someone they just met. Where as in a city like New York, you often only have a few moments of interactions with a stranger. So having experienced both, I’ve learned to adapt different ways of interacting with people, and overall, this has helped my confidence in capturing the images I am wanting to capture.

There is a clear cinematic element to your work. How have you developed your style?

It came pretty naturally. Film is, by large, my biggest influence aesthetically and I look at the world in that way. The development of that has come from me letting my mind take me the direction I want to go.

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

WCW QUESTIONNAIRE

How would you describe your creative process in one word?

Emotional

If you could teach one, one-hour class on anything, what would it be?

Connecting with your subject

What is the last book you read or film you saw that inspired you?

Moonlight

What is the most played song in your music library?

Because the Night - Patti Smith

How do you take your coffee?

Black

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

© Lauren Withrow

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