I first met Lauren Clark in 2010. I liked her work, I knew she lived close to me, so I asked her if I could profile her for a college class assignment. I revived some of that text and brought it in to this post.
When I entered Lauren Clark's home on Doty Street in Stillwater, Okla., the scent of dog was overwhelming. Deep growls and aggressive snorts advanced quickly, and soon I was found by two blue and speckled dogs the size of Clydesdales. Drool dripped from their impressively large mouths and smacked to the hardwood floor. At 5'2, I was sure these two had taken shits larger than me. Lauren laughed and assured me her Great Danes, London and Meridian, meant well.
Lauren gave me a tour of her newly remodeled home, characterized by chic back splashed tile, canvassed images of clients, and quirky flea market finds. A chandelier made of trinkets hung from a tree in the backyard, spoons clinking together in the wind. Lauren Clark, it seemed, had an eye for unique beauty.
We wandered around the house, discussing some of the work on display and her style of photography. She was obviously doing something right - by this time her work had been featured in The Knot, The Texas Knot and Southern Weddings Magazine. Gap used her work to inspire an ad campaign. When asked to describe the elusive "I-made-it" moment all creatives crave, her tan freckles quickly disappeared behind a cherry blush. Even then, she was uncomfortable with the fame.
In the years following this meeting, she left the rat race - big clients, and big money - behind to focus on her faith and raising three adorably adventurous boys. Today, I look at her work and see her centeredness reflected, and I remember what she told me back then: realness and authenticity is more than an aesthetic design choice - it's a life choice as well.
We finally settled her office. Looking back, her nostalgia for a simpler life was evident: pictures clipped to chicken wire with clothes hangers, print patterns reminiscent of depression-era flour sacks creeping in to an otherwise minimal, modern office. I was there to hear her opinions on style, art direction, developing an authentic aesthetic, and client management. She was ready to dive in, but quickly insisted she had to show me a new website she discovered - a crazy little thing called Pinterest. We pulled it up on her gargantuan desktop Mac. Pinterest was in its first month of creation at the time, and the site could barely keep up with the traffic, often crashing mid-search. I went home and made an account. The next week in the university library I was on Pinterest and a girl leaned over to me to ask, "What is that? Where do I go to sign up?"
Pinterest had us, and the entire creative industry, at hello.
Eventually, Lauren got around to sharing her ideas with me. Since that interview I've had the privilege of working with a multitude of fantastic photographers who believe in storytelling. And, of course, we've seen Pinterest change the pace of the photography industry. Whether I'm working for a client, working as a second photographer, art directing an ad, or laying out a feature article, photography is always on my mind. Photogs are a writer's kindred spirits, after all.
Later this week, I'm sharing professional photographer's tips for clients. Have a Q you want an A to? Comment below!