Name: Lauren Lepore.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a self-taught photographer born and raised in the Bronx. I wouldn’t want to be from anywhere else. NYC in itself is an amazing place but there is no borough like the BX. There’s never a dull moment or even a quiet one but that’s just the way I like it. I feel blessed to have been able to grow up with so much diversity and culture surrounding me every day. I feel like it really shows in my pictures.
What do you like to shoot?
I shoot whatever I want to remember, things that are beautiful to me. Whether it’s a picture of a half naked chick during sunset or an overflowing trash can on a street corner, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Pictures are memories I save for later. That’s what they’ve always been to me. I’m just lucky that people like what I shoot just as much as I do!
What camera do you use?
The older I’ve gotten, the less I’ve cared about what camera I’m shooting with. You can give two photographers the same camera but never get the same picture. Whether it be a disposable or it’s a $1000 Leica, it’s the eyes behind the lens that matter the most. Lately I’ve been shooting with a handful of cameras I picked up at Goodwill for less than $5 each, a lot of expired film too. I love the grain and the grit, it really pairs well with most of the content I end up shooting. My go-to shooter right now is a bright pink LA Brites Vivitar. It’s the second one of these I’ve owned in my life and even though it’s probably the simplest point and shoot to ever exist, it helps me take some of my best pictures honestly.
What would you say the main narrative behind your images are?
All of these images are from my book about youth culture across America, capturing the millennial generation. My goal for this project was just to capture kids being kids until they’re forced into adulthood. The only rule I set for myself while shooting for the book was that whatever I shot had to be ‘real’. None of these images were posed or planned. Almost all of them I stumbled across while just living my own life as a misguided young adult.
What photo is your favourite, and why?
My favourite picture in that set is the Sad AF balloon in the bar bathroom. I stood there super drunk for a few minutes waiting for the balloon to turn around just enough to be facing me for a single picture. I was lucky I even got it, the guy the balloon was tied to finished whatever he had been doing in there just a few seconds after I took the flick. That’s what I love about photography, you really only have a second and then the perfect picture is gone. When I miss a shot it’ll haunt me for weeks after. It’s honestly worse than a break up.
Are you working on anything we can look forward to?
I want my work to be something that kids 20 years from now look back on and say, “Oh shit, that’s what 2016 was like. They’re having more fun than us! We need to get on their level.” Growing up the movie ‘Kids’ was super influential to me, being from NY and just living a similar lifestyle. I wanna create something like that, but through my photography yaknow? I’m gonna continue these books until I hit 30, I’m hoping by then I’m a full fledged ‘adult’. I know my parents are too.