Through her work documenting entrepreneurs and creators, Lauren Kallen has helped build today's visual narrative of what it means to pursue your passion—and she embodies that same drive. Lauren's passion for small businesses carries through her role as WeWork's lead photographer to her passion projects to the feedback and creative thinking she regularly provides to us at ONA. Below, hear Lauren's story and see some of our favorite selections from her portfolio.
Lauren carries the Nylon Camps Bay backpack.
How did you get into photography?
Growing up in England, I was lucky enough to travel a few times a year throughout Europe with my family. My grandmother was a big influence on those trips and always travelled with a little 35mm camera that I loved playing with, capturing our little family moments and the scenery around us. By the time I went to school, my passion for the arts had grown significantly which led me to attend a small art college in England and begin my photography career shooting the live music scene in London for publications like The Guardian and The Line Of Best Fit. I’ve come a long way since then and now work on the Brand team at WeWork, leading the photo department where I shoot everything from our beautiful interiors to editorial portraits of our members to tell their story for Creator Magazine.
What's your go-to gear?
Just upgraded to the Canon 5D MK IV and it’s dreamy. Go-to lens would have to be the 50mm 1.2.
What sort of project drives your creativity? And what is your dream project?
I love working on any personal projects where I can collaborate with other creatives, sharing ideas in the process, inspiring one another along the way. I’m lucky to have some extremely talented friends, like Lindsey Brown and Foster White and we have the best time shooting side by side and helping each other to thrive. A personal project I am working on is The Morning People Project, where I collaborate with my husband to interview small business owners who are up early to help us start our days. For me, working with others is both fun and rewarding, but also helps me push beyond my own comfort zone and encourages new ideas.
As for my dream project, anything that involves traveling and getting my hands dirty. I would love to shoot in the field for National Geographic or a non-profit and use my skills to bring awareness to people and document what's happening in the world around us.
What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?
Sometimes it can be challenging to find new, interesting ways to frame an image. For example, my job at WeWork involves shooting portraits of our different members within their office space. Even though each location is beautifully unique, it can be tough to always find a different perspective to give an image that ‘wow’ factor. It feels similar to writer’s block, and I have to remind myself to challenge myself and experiment with new things to keep it fun for both me and my subjects. Even those in between moments can be the best shots from a shoot.
Describe your style of shooting.
I try to keep things very natural, with soft lighting and simple editing in post. I worked for an amazing photographer named Eric Ryan Anderson for a few months when I first moved to New York, and I’d watch him achieve amazing results the second he clicked the shutter. This really inspired me to challenge myself to not rely too much on post and always capture as much as I could within camera.
In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out?
Shoot, shoot, shoot! Set yourself one small project every day/week/month that excites you, and make it happen. Always experiment and you’ll start to develop your own style and learn what drives you.
Lauren carries the ONA x 100 Cameras Prince Street messenger