#IOTW: Lauren Woods

Lauren Woods (@_portraitmami) is an analogue photographer from North Carolina. Her work is characterized by her simplistic storytelling mixed with the art of vulnerability and inclusivity. Her morals of compassion, intimacy and staying raw set the tone for her work and cater to a unique dynamic that is still personable. 

  “Stephen’s Universe is probably my all time favorite portrait that I have ever taken of a man. When it comes to shooting males for me, I like to break outside the norm when I can. On this day, my friend Stephen and I decided to get experimental with a few stickers and Christmas ribbons we found at Walmart. To create the rainbow comet effect, I aimed the Christmas ribbon on the light that shown on his face. This caused a prism to glisten in the lens and I was able to create this shot. What really strikes me the most about this image is Stephen’s expression in his eyes. How vulnerable he is and just so open to the soul. I wanted to create a magical and physical realm surrounding him in celebration of the Black Male. Hence, “Stephen’s Universe.”      -Lauren Woods

“Stephen’s Universe is probably my all time favorite portrait that I have ever taken of a man. When it comes to shooting males for me, I like to break outside the norm when I can. On this day, my friend Stephen and I decided to get experimental with a few stickers and Christmas ribbons we found at Walmart. To create the rainbow comet effect, I aimed the Christmas ribbon on the light that shown on his face. This caused a prism to glisten in the lens and I was able to create this shot. What really strikes me the most about this image is Stephen’s expression in his eyes. How vulnerable he is and just so open to the soul. I wanted to create a magical and physical realm surrounding him in celebration of the Black Male. Hence, “Stephen’s Universe.” -Lauren Woods

  “Living in Hawaii, Cloe was one of my favorite models. She had some of the most beautiful, delicate features I had ever seen on someone. I just loved the daintiness of her big doe green eyes and sharp yet soft facial structure. She was always so whimsical every time we shot together. Diamond Head Beach Park used to have some of the most beautiful sunsets. The colors changed almost every day so it was always so unique each time with the lighting. Every day with Cloe was always special to me and some of the best moments as an artist in my life.”

“Living in Hawaii, Cloe was one of my favorite models. She had some of the most beautiful, delicate features I had ever seen on someone. I just loved the daintiness of her big doe green eyes and sharp yet soft facial structure. She was always so whimsical every time we shot together. Diamond Head Beach Park used to have some of the most beautiful sunsets. The colors changed almost every day so it was always so unique each time with the lighting. Every day with Cloe was always special to me and some of the best moments as an artist in my life.”

  “‘High School Sweetheart.’ truly means the world to me and is one of my all time favorite shoots. Being a bisexual female and seeing all the negative/overly sexualized stigma that comes with it can sometimes be so taxing. Especially in photography. Majority of commercials can often hyper sexualize the relationship between two femme women and objectify their relationship in various ways. In this series, I really wanted to capture the purity of an LGBT relationship and how it’s not always about sex as outsiders claim it to be. I really wanted to capture the vulnerability and openness between Celeste and Maddie and mix it with the visual details of some of my favorite old movies. I’ve always been a sucker for 70s, 80s and 90s culture. I love the simplistic dreamy settings back then and the style of individuals. The song “Kiss Me” by Sixpence Non the Ritcher came into my head and instantly inspired this shoot. A classic that’s been placed in almost every 90s/early 2000s teen romance film. I am an overly nostalgic person so I love moments that make you feel like you’re going back in time to some of your fondest moments. Maybe the first time you’ve ever been in love as a kid. So it was really awesome being able to bring this shoot to life and (at the time) capturing the pure love of two girls that can often be sexually degraded by society.”

“‘High School Sweetheart.’ truly means the world to me and is one of my all time favorite shoots. Being a bisexual female and seeing all the negative/overly sexualized stigma that comes with it can sometimes be so taxing. Especially in photography. Majority of commercials can often hyper sexualize the relationship between two femme women and objectify their relationship in various ways. In this series, I really wanted to capture the purity of an LGBT relationship and how it’s not always about sex as outsiders claim it to be. I really wanted to capture the vulnerability and openness between Celeste and Maddie and mix it with the visual details of some of my favorite old movies. I’ve always been a sucker for 70s, 80s and 90s culture. I love the simplistic dreamy settings back then and the style of individuals. The song “Kiss Me” by Sixpence Non the Ritcher came into my head and instantly inspired this shoot. A classic that’s been placed in almost every 90s/early 2000s teen romance film. I am an overly nostalgic person so I love moments that make you feel like you’re going back in time to some of your fondest moments. Maybe the first time you’ve ever been in love as a kid. So it was really awesome being able to bring this shoot to life and (at the time) capturing the pure love of two girls that can often be sexually degraded by society.”

  “Break ups are never easy. They tear us down, make us question ourselves, but can also build us up if we remember the right lessons from love lost. It wasn’t easy losing you. I still suffer every day. But nonetheless you still inspire me. Even after our breakup… Sometimes it gets harder and harder when you break up and you can’t help but fall back and want to talk to that person again. You miss them and you reminisce on maybe what could have been. This is our story.”

“Break ups are never easy. They tear us down, make us question ourselves, but can also build us up if we remember the right lessons from love lost. It wasn’t easy losing you. I still suffer every day. But nonetheless you still inspire me. Even after our breakup… Sometimes it gets harder and harder when you break up and you can’t help but fall back and want to talk to that person again. You miss them and you reminisce on maybe what could have been. This is our story.”