Lauren Silberman lives and works in New York City. She received her MFA from the International Center of Photography-Bard Program in Advanced Photographic Studies and her BA in Art History from Barnard College. She is currently a faculty member at the International Center of Photography.
Lauren has completed residencies with ArtGarda (Italy, 2015), Mana Contemporary (New Jersey, 2015), the Camera Club of New York (NYC, 2012) and was an artist-in-residence in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace program (NYC) during the 2008-2009 year and was a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
She has performed at Location One, Deitch Projects and 3rd Ward, as well as the several underground events and venues that have provided inspiration for her work.
Lauren also devotes time to curating shows with fellow artists Jamie Diamond and Elisabeth Smolarz; their recent projects include It was a Pleasure to Burn featuring JoKarlins at the SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW 2017 and Doppelnamer, included in the SPRING/BREAK Art Show in 2016.
She has been featured in PDN’s photo annual as emerging talent and exhibited in New York and abroad. Some of Lauren’s clients include The New Yorker, NYLON Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Vice, Details Magazine, Bust Magazine, Brooklyn Industries and her work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine. She is available for assignment and commissioned work.
What websites, blogs and people do you draw inspiration from? Who do you follow on Instagram and/or Pinterest?
I’m a big fan of Petra Collins (@petrafcollins) and Mayan Toledano (@thisismayan). They both each work with such a beautiful and dreamy palette (lots of #millenialpink!). I’m also a fan of a photographer named Grace Pickering (@grace_pickering) who’s in LA – her portraiture work is stunning – youthful and full of energy, and she has a great handle on the quality of light that LA offers.
Since I’m in New York I try to get out and see as much art as possible. I find inspiration in my creative group of friends, my dreams, pop cultures stories – it’s everywhere.
What’s your approach for casting your models? Do you use an agency, friends, scout?
I use my friends and people that I meet that I find interesting. All of my work is real people – I have always been interested in real people and their stories. I’m drawn to creative people and most of them are in my immediate surroundings. I try to capture them in off moments and sincere moments, even if we are doing a staged photo shoot.
Let’s tap into your styling; what wardrobe, props, locations and post production do you feel help to create that Generation Y feel?
Because I shoot real people, I don’t usually curate these things too much, but it does depend on the shoot. I always ask my subjects to bring their own wardrobe and to bring a few options so we can decide what will work with the concept and what will photograph nicely. Most of my images have a gritty feel to them as they take place in urban environments, which I think adds to the feel of youth culture present in my work. It’s really all just an extension of my world!
When taking photos of Generation Y do you think including technology comes hand in hand?
I’m not interested in photographing technology and it’s not really in any of my photos – in fact, I usually ask people to not have their phones in photos. I’m new to shooting for stock, so this may change as I begin to direct images that are meant for a target market. I think it will be a challenge for me to incorporate it into my work, as I’m more interested in a retro and vintage aesthetic. I should probably look to Petra and Mayan more – they tend to give laptops a soft look in their images that I find really interesting!
How would you shoot Millennials without any technology being present? Where are they? What do they do, what do they like?
There are a million things that we do that don’t require technology – I’ve been drawn to having more nature present in my work (maybe it’s 20 years of living in Brooklyn that makes me feel this way!). But any props from food to drinks to playing cards to books to flowers all make for great props to interact with.
What hashtags do you use to promote this kind of work, how do you get your images noticed on Instagram?
I have to admit my hashtag use is really inconsistent. Sometimes I think they are really clunky and take away form the image – I like the simplicity of just seeing an image. I’m not looking to Instagram to get discovered, though it would be great if it did lead to some work (which it has in the past for me). I think it’s a really liberating platform for sharing images, ideas and musings and I love the simplicity of it. Though it is more of a curated platform than it initially was a few years ago, I still like to use it a place for experimentation and fun, with the occasional work that I like to promote.