Seneca Spotlight: Lauren MacDormand

by valrac4_a3kqdy

The Seneca @ York Independent Digital Photography Program is a two-year diploma course that prepares students for a freelance career and provides them with the necessary skill set to work in a multidisciplinary studio. Photo Life is proud to partner with Seneca students to document their journey through the school curriculum. Follow them each week!

Class:  Photography III
Assignment: Themed, three-part series
: Lauren MacDormand
Professor: Marc Crabtree
Assignment guidelines
: Shoot three images using a different model for each image. All images must contribute to a theme.

© Lauren MacDonald

© Lauren MacDormand

It’s not just about having an idea. It’s about making ideas happen. This is a very simple concept, but it requires some effort, planning and courage to convey your ideas to an audience in a powerful way. You want to create something with impact—something that means something to a very diverse audience while still staying true to your own passion. The goal is to create work that is a direct reflection of why you chose to pick up the camera in the first place.

I choose to create visually controversial images. I like surprising people playing with unique subject matter. Reflecting on this, it makes sense that I’ve always been drawn to nude photography. I like the way humans all share similar characteristics and features, yet we’re all so different and unique at the same time. When a subject is stripped of their clothing, I find they really show the camera and audience who they are; a certain vulnerability is suddenly made aware.

© Lauren MacDormand

© Lauren MacDormand

That said, when asked to shoot a three-part series for our final project last semester, I immediately chose to shoot my models nude. The only rules were that the three images had to have different models and they had to carry a theme. I decided to shoot my models taking on their favourite hobbies, giving the overall image some unique substance while still carrying out a common thread. I shot the three models on separate days in three separate locations. I used my Bowens lighting kit with one lamp adjusted accordingly to the available natural light. The most important part I want to emphasize is that I shot it all with a Canon Rebel T3i and the basic 18-55 mm lens. Most people starting out believe they are limited by their available gear. I wanted to show that a really great idea could be brought to life using the most basic and affordable gear going. It comes down to your original plan and daring to execute it.

Finding willing subjects was also a bit of a task given the outfits selected for the shoot. I discovered that when you explain your idea and show confidence in it, people are more willing to get on board. Sell it to them. Make them want to be a part of something that is going to have impact.

Now by no means am I saying this is the end all be all of photography, nor am I saying it is the best work I’ll do in my career. I am, however, saying that it is a much easier task to create an awesome image when you’re passionate about what you’re doing. Shoot things you like rather than trying to imitate others. Every idea starts small, but it’s the risks you take that set you apart.

© Lauren MacDormand

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