In this episode of The Tangible House Show we have an inspiring conversation with model and photographer Laurel Thoma.
Laurel tells us how she has been around film cameras her whole life as her dad was a photographer. Although she got her first SLR film camera when she was 17, even as a kid she was always would bringing disposable cameras with her on trips.
She confesses that she has this uncontrollable urge to document special moments as they happen all around her, a compulsion that if it's even possible someday she would very much like to turn that off. Laurel shares what inspires her most as a photographer, the light being number one and how a still morning with the right light is enough to make her want to capture that moment on film. Laurel says she sees inspiration in everything and so beautifully says, "life is like a painting."
Irving Penn is a photographer whom she admires his work and I personally see his influence in her own images especially in their mutual appreciation of beauty in still life and not just the typical beauty of a fashion woman for example, which is the world Laurel comes from as a model. Laurel goes on to explain that physical beauty is rarely what attracts her in what she finds to be a great image.
Laurel has an ongoing self portrait series that has happened naturally given her spontaneous photographic style. She has not yet gone out into the world with her camera with the intention of taking a self portrait she says, but rather if she catches herself in the mirror and the light is nice for example then that is when she can't help herself in documenting yet another moment. She says photography is a great way to document her life and how she is feeling in those moments and even on occasion her self portraits capture her at a time when she is otherwise falling apart in her life...which is so beautiful in its tragedy that she is the one to capture it and take note of it herself with her own eye and hand as an artist. I would imagine the process of shooting those moments in her life could be very therapeutic...at the very least it makes for an emotional and raw image!
At the moment, Laurel is very much still a working fashion model by profession and as she puts it, she is her own commodity...which she laughs and says probably isn't healthy. Laurel shares her goals of wanting to publish books of her photography someday, yes books as in many books, but humbly notes that she has no desire to be a "name" and I believe her. She truly is an artist who creates for herself and that undeniable urge that she has and cannot shut off. Laurel has started printing her film images in the darkroom and I personally hope to see a gallery show of her work soon, a mix of her self portraits and her still life.
Laurel is incredibly bright and humble and she shares some beautiful life wisdom with us that we can each grow from. Let's jump right into the conversation with Laurel and get inspired by this talented young woman!
Watch. Listen. Get Inspired.
Self Portraits by Laurel
Photography by Laurel