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Lauren Keskinel is a photographer based in Los Angeles. Her background in film production, extensive travels through the developing world, and affinity for sports and adventure give her a unique perspective on the people and places she shoots. When not working in the world of sports entertainment, Lauren enjoys partnering with organizations to help document their humanitarian efforts, both domestically and abroad. Her work has been recognized through numerous awards including the APA Awards and PDN’s Photobook Cali. She was also a proud participant in the Eddie Adams Workshop XXIV. To see more of Lauren’s work, visit www.laurenkeskinel.com.
I always say that I took the long road to photography. When I was 19, I got a job on a movie set and spent the next decade going from film to film. It was an amazing time in my life and allowed me to learn the ins and outs of entertainment production, while providing me the ability to travel the world in between shoots. After a while, I started craving something more creative of my own. Photography had always been something I was interested in and I took the opportunity to go back to school and learn more about it. I was hooked.
I was lucky to meet another photographer early on in photography who worked in the equestrian world shooting high level competitions. I had ridden and competed as a kid so it was an easy transition into shooting horses. It was a wonderful way to hone my skills and allowed me the flexible schedule I needed when my kids were young. Now that they are a little older, I’m focusing more on editorial and commercial opportunities, particularly related to entertainment.
Much of my commercial and editorial work is in color and I think certain images lend themselves beautifully to it, but I absolutely love black and white. I am lucky enough to have learned photography when film was still hanging on as a standard. I explored a lot with the classic black and white films and spent a lot of time in the darkroom. Now I love taking those same techniques and applying them digitally. I find that when it’s just me and an image in post, with full creative freedom, I still lean towards black and white.
I consider myself to be a street photographer at heart. I have always been an observer and joke sometimes that I am a professional people watcher. Whether it’s a well-planned, production-heavy commercial shoot or a quick shot with my iPhone, I love to capture that perfect moment that reveals something about life and humanity.
For commercial or editorial work, I will often use a medium format Hasselblad or Phase One with a digital back. For sports and travel, I always use the professional line of 35mm cameras from Canon. Personally, I obsessively shoot with my iPhone. I know it may be blaspheme in some circles, but it has been one of the most creatively freeing tools that I’ve used. It allows me to capture moments that I would never otherwise have my camera for, and helps avoid the wall that can go up with a subject as soon as you pull out a real camera.
If you’re just a beginner and want to get into photographing, I would tell you to take classes. You don’t have to go to an expensive art school. There are so many great local programs throughout the country. I did the commercial photography program at Santa Monica College here in Los Angeles and it was amazing. I think when you first start out in photography, it’s easy to underestimate how much technique and knowledge goes into the beautiful shots you see. You look and think ‘I can do that’ and then you try and it looks like your crazy uncle Bob took it. I think it’s really the technical skills that separate you from the pack these days. I will also give the same advice given to me and to generations of photographer. Shoot. Shoot. Keep Shooting. Then shoot some more. I learn something every time I shoot. Often it’s what doesn’t work, but slowly, with every mistake and failed concept, you get better. I guarantee you one thing about photography, there is alway more to learn. Keep at it.
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