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Lauren Lemon is the online persona for Lauren Randolph, a photographer based in Los Angeles. She built her photography career in part through a series of personal projects, including taking one self-portrait a day for an entire year in 2009. She's also one of the most popular photographers on Instagram, with more than 200,000 followers.
In this first installment of The Creative Spark, she talks about the importance of social networks and personal projects in establishing a photography career. We follow Lauren for the day as she plans and choreographs a creative photo shoot in her distinctive visual style and uses Instagram as part of her creative process.
When I started Instagram, I think it was, the app had been released a day or two, and I've always shot photos with my cell phone. Even before I got an iPhone, I was taking you know little pictures with my little Samsung phone or Nokia phone or whatever it was. So when the iPhone came out and the camera was a million times better than any cell phone camera I had, I got really excited about any photo app that I could find and apps that could created panoramics or apps that edit and things. And so I was shooting all of these photos and editing all of the photos on my phone, but not really having any place to share them, because I am not putting them up on my website. I am not putting them up on my portfolio; they are just snapshots.
So when Instagram came along, I had heard about it and basically it was like the perfect platform for me to share just those quick memories that I was shooting anyway with this platform that so many people could view it. When I first joined it, I was just trying to get my friends involved, to have them kind of follow my iPhone photos and so they can shoot too. And it became a very personal thing, but then Instagram grew so quickly, and I started just really turning to the app and using it all the time, shooting multiple photos a day.
And when Instagram created their Suggested Users list, they turned to all of the photographers and professional photographers who were using this platform more socially or more freely than they would their regular work. So I was put on the Suggested Users list and from then just kind of the following just kind of took off. And I don't go anywhere without my cell phone, but I may leave the house without carrying my big digital SLR around. And you know I may not always have the money to develop film, but I am paying my cell phone bill no matter what. So it becomes the one camera that I really do always have on me and you know, it's incredible to be able to shoot a photo and have someone in a different country respond and see it.
And I'll shoot something at breakfast and someone is like oh, I am at dinner now, because I'm all the way across the world. And it's become just like amazing network of people, or this community of people, who, just through little snapshots of life and everything, we can all follow along now.
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