LAUREN ENGEL


SKYN: Lauren as a celebrity photographer we know your time is precious so we appreciate you taking time out to interview with SKYN Mag so thank you! Anyway tell us how photography started out for you?

L.E.: Awh haha!  No worries.  I started around the age of 15/16 photographing my friends and classmates.  It progressed into shooting fashion with agency models and doing campaigns and lookbooks. In the last two years I started getting into event photography and over the years I did travel and lifestyle also.

SKYN: That seems like quite the progression! What else is there besides photography?

L.E.: Learning a lot, I'm actually planning on a career in data analytics, so I like that aspect. I enjoy reading Quora a lot and watching tutorials about everything on YouTube. 

SKYN: What’s your gear?

L.E.: I have a Canon 5D Mark II and 35mm f/2.0 and 50mm f/1.4.  I occasionally borrow my friend's Mark III and 50mm f/1.2.

SKYN: I love the photos you took with DJ TigerLily, what was it like shooting with her?

L.E.: Aw, thanks!  She's incredible, one of the most bubbly and fun people to shoot.  She has a great team behind her who are motivating and have great plans for her.

SKYN: What is your favorite magazine and why?

L.E.: I'm so biased but C-Heads Magazine because I'm one of the editors *laughs*.  I love the topics that are covered and the art throughout the site and print. The artists who are on there are also very motivational and inspiring.

SKYN: Do you have a personal interest in fashion and if so can you tell us about it?

L.E.: Last year I started styling my models and it's been really fun.  The urge came from all the difficulties with arranging a full team and I've always been interested in fashion.  I started contacting brands and they were interested in providing clothing for my shoots.  I love being in control of the shoot and how it turns out!

SKYN: I have to agree with you there. Having that ultimate control over a shoot takes a lot of the stress out of the shoot contrary to what people believe. What inspires you to continue capturing moments?

L.E.: Interesting question, I think knowing that there is a limited time I have on earth *laughs* and that I want to photograph as many notable people as I could and experience a lot through photography.

SKYN: You bring up a great point, time is limited. That being said what fears did you have through your photography career?

L.E.: How much it is dependent on networking.  I'm pretty introverted so I'm not the type to go to a lot of events and meet as many people as possible.  That's also a partial reason why I am interested in a career in data analytics, there's a certainty in an office day job that relaxes me *laughs*.

SKYN: I can completely relate, it’s hard out here for introverts! As a fellow introvert, what are three brands that encapsulate you, your likes and your admirations right now?

L.E.: HLZBLZ all the way *laughs*, they're the raddest people. I also love Wildfox Couture the way their campaigns are shown through stories and Nasty Gal because of how it progressed from being a small vintage company to what it is now is motivating.

SKYN: We will have to look up HLZBLZ and a 1000% YAAAAAS to Nasty Gal. Speaking of fashion actually, you’ve shot for different shows during NYFW SS 2015, tell us what the energy and the feeling is like when you shot during that time period?

L.E.: I did some fashion shows before in Hong Kong but NYFW was the first one that was more 'full on'.  There's so much energy back stage, everyone is constantly buzzing around making sure everything is perfect.  As a photographer I try to observe from the sidelines but also try and take some creative pictures.  I can't imagine how models do it every season; it really drains your energy!

SKYN: Oh absolutely, I was at NYFW this February and there was a lot going on in the press pit of some of the shows I was at so I could only imagine how it was backstage. Within that same vein, who has been your favourite model to work with?

L.E.: I really like Nicoline Aagesen, she's a model and photographer in Hong Kong.  I adore her photography as well--I've posted a bunch on C-Heads. The energy that she has while modeling and through her pictures is amazing.

SKYN: Dope, we will do our due diligence and we advise everyone reading to check her out to. So moving on who do you admire and why?

L.E.: I love Ted Emmons and Zoey Grossman, the lighting in their pics in insane and I love their color retouch/editing technique.

SKYN: Pure skill and nothing but. Here’s a random question for you. If you were told by God that you couldn’t photograph anymore but he would give you the skill to do something else you wanted to, what would you pick?

L.E.: Interesting question!  I think it might be something music related.  I'm a huge music person, my bf is a producer and many of my friends are producers as well.  It could be interesting being a singer and collaborating with them or producing.

SKYN: That would be interesting! Do you find personal projects harder than commercial or client based projects or vice versa?

L.E.: I find client based projects harder, there's multiple people who have a vision on what they want and it's up to the photographer to deliver it, it's pressure but feels really good when they really like the outcome. 

SKYN: That’s a general consensus that I hear from lots of other photographers, it can be quite a significant impediment to the creative process. You have such a large range in your photography styles and subjects, from like concert and event photography to high fashion, to celebrities to nostalgic photography to specific collaborations, how did you develop that?

L.E.: It's pretty much photographing anything I enjoy and the world around me.  I got inspired to start event photography from seeing Cobrasnakes' work--super fun party pictures which wasn't really present in Hong Kong so I tried to bring that style there.  I find it interesting photographing and interviewing celebrities because I like learning about their mindset.

SKYN: Right it’s cool to get into that space and be an observer of that world. Can you tell us about some photographers that are fans of your work?

L.E.: From the top of my head Alison Wonderland and CRNKN like my work.  We've been trying to meet up again to shoot but we've been in different cities.

SKYN: That’s awesome, aside from that obviously, what else makes you happy?

L.E.: Watching food videos with my bf *laughs*, sometimes we would just stay up and watch random food vlogs on YouTube or food series about food from around the world.

SKYN: As someone who loves food, I can 100% see the value in that *laughs* I’m curious, since photographers often work behind the scenes a lot of people don’t always know who they are, do you feel like photographers should have more recognition for all that they do?

L.E.: It makes sense that we aren't as recognized as models because we aren't what's on the image.  However, compared to makeup artists and wardrobe stylists we are more recognized, they should be as recognized as well because they put a lot of energy and time into the shoot as well.

SKYN: Well yeah, they basically make the photo so that’s why I ask. Are you a self-taught photographer or did you have some sort of training in order to do what you do now?

L.E.: I am a self-taught photographer. At the beginning I started by borrowing books from the library or watching a lot of tutorials online.  I don't really believe in going to school for art but that's another story.

SKYN: That is incredible, I would love to explore that at a later date because that’s some turn of the century shit. Are you a feminist?

L.E.: Yes I am, especially in the work place with salary and promotions we can see that this inequality exists, while I'm alive it would be cool to see the gap decreasing.

SKYN: Absolutely, especially when it boils down to basic sexism and just general human decency. What is the most fun collaboration that you’ve participated in?

L.E.: All my shoots that I have done for C-Heads Magazine, I have met so many musicians, models and bloggers who I look up to. 

SKYN: You must be so incredibly well-connected from editing C-heads to all of the other things you get up to. Tell us about your photo editing process?

L.E.: From using Photoshop for a bunch of years I have saved curves that match a lot of different styles that I have made.  Sometimes I make a curve entirely from scratch.  After putting a curve on the pictures I do simple skin retouching, that's about it. 

SKYN: That’s really smart.  With how busy your life seemingly is, you must get overwhelmed from time to time. Can you share with us some self-care strategies that you employ?

L.E.: I think really knowing yourself well and having people you can talk to.  I am a huge planner person so I like to plan my week/months out so everything runs as smooth as it can and I don't have to do things last minute.  I find watching artistic travel videos on Vimeo really relaxing and they let my mind run away *laughs*.

SKYN: That’s a strategy I’ve never come across before so that’s interesting that you say that. What is your opinion on this wave of Instagram modelling where girls advertise themselves, products they are being paid to pretend to use and use their phone as a mirror of a life that they want you to see?

L.E.: I don't mind it as such because it's up to the consumer to believe it or not.  The girls can do what they want, however, I can see it as promoting plastic surgery and false advertising but then again we are raised in a society where we are more aware as consumers than before with the millions of ads targeted to us.

SKYN: That’s a good point, assuming that the consumer isn’t naïve, it’s down to their discretion. What is your opinion on love?

L.E.: I honestly feel that love should be easy and real.  From my past relationships a lot of them were stressful and took a lot of effort to figure out.  In my relationship now everything is easy with communication and understanding each other.  He's my best friend and someone I always confide in.

SKYN: That really is the recipe for a healthy relationship and I’m happy that you are in that. You have worked with and been featured on publications like Hypebeast, Harpar’s bazaar, vogue.com, GQ, dna models, ford models, what does it feel like to be a creative so dope that you’ve been highlighted in all of these venues?

L.E.: I don't really think about it too much, it sounds good on my resume *laughs* but I'm always moving forwards and trying to accomplish more.  Also, it's very motivating that these publications have found my work interesting and it means a lot to me.

SKYN: It’s basically like these spaces that are the shit, think you are the shit. Which has got to do a little something for the ego but I understand the sentiment, you get it, you appreciate it and you move on. In that spirit we are gonna do the same so what next can we expect to see from you Lauren?

L.E.: Possibly moving to LA this year.  I've heard countless times that my style is more similar to LA and a lot of models I photograph are based there.  Since I started photography I've mostly been in Hong Kong, Boston and New York where the style is different to what I would like.

SKYN: So Lauren, next time we are in New York, can we kick it together?

L.E.: Yes of course!!


Vanessa Peters

@sofxposh | www.sofxposh.com


LAUREN ENGEL

www.engelauren.com | @engelauren | engelauren


MODEL

@engelauren

Photographer
@_mikematos 

Stylist:

@simone_pussiefooter

MUA:

@manic_pixie_dream