Faces: Photographer Laure Joliet Interview
We love peeking into the lives—and especially the homes—of strangers just as much as the next person, which is why we love interior photography that has a certain lightness and intimacy, like the work of Los Angeles-based photographer Laure Joliet. Laure shoots for an impressive smattering of clientele, but we love her casual snaps on Instagram and her amazing black and white engineering prints. What can we say—maybe Laure is even more fun to spy on than her fancy design clients…
What first got you interested in photography? And when did you decide to make it your full time gig?
My dad gave me a point and shoot Konika for Christmas when I was 8 or 9. I grew up in LA but we went to France in the summer to visit my dad's family and I loved that I could take pictures on that trip and then share them back home. That was early-early but I just kept at it, did summer programs in high school, went to art school, took a couple of detours and committed to photography at the end of 2009. I had worked in design and blogging so photographing interiors and doing lifestyle editorials was already happening and I made the leap. I figured it would never work if I didn't put two feet in. So far so good.
I'd say (I think this is right?) you're best known for your work shooting interiors. What do you find so interesting about this type of work?
In art school (and even before) I really loved the work of artists who were interested in the everyday, like Uta Barth, Wollfgang Tillmans, Agnes Varda, Sophie Calle. They found the magic in what was close to them. And so that's where my focus has always been—homes, people's intimate spaces, the worlds they build for themselves. I focused a lot on messes and the detritus of life but that did mean that I was photographing rooms, I am comfortable in a house, finding the light, finding a moment that has a little bit of feeling. I've been really lucky to have interior design and architecture clients who appreciate that. They want to document their work and their design and they understand that having emotion in the shots, something the viewer can connect to is often more important than just shooting a wide shot and technically seeing everything in a room.
You made an abrupt career change in order to pursue being a photographer. Do you have advice for people who are maybe stuck in a rut or even just don't know how to get started doing something fulfilling?
Oh god yes. I would love to counsel people because it's scary but worth it. Also you have to be ready to work so so hard. For longer than you expect. I would say: seek out community. I was really connected to the blogging world of 2006: I had a day job I knew I didn't want to stay in and so I sought out some creative outlets on the side. I wrote for Apartment Therapy, Dwell, Sunset. I dabbled in interior design. I went to most of the things I was invited to. I met people. I smiled. I was excited to be connected with people working in design and architecture. I was paying attention to design and trends because it was an authentic interest and I think people felt that. I found my community and that helped to take a leap of faith at a certain point.
How long have you lived in Los Angeles and what do you love about it?
I have always lived in Los Angeles! My great grandparents built a house here, my grandparents built a house here, I went to the same elementary school my mom went to! I also spent the first couple of years of my life and then most summers in France with my dad and his family. So I like to think I have perspective on this place I call home. Even though I have never really left I have lived in so many different neighborhoods in this city that it feels like lots of different chapters. That's what I love. There are so many different worlds here.
Please tell us more about Hazel.
Hazel is my love. She is a 5 year old Abysinnian that I got for my 30th birthday. And she is a joy. Abys are known for their playful nature. They aren't aloof like other cats, she follows me around, tries to perch on my shoulder, plays fetch and drinks water out of the faucet. She also burrows under the covers and spoons me at night. She is the greatest cat!
Where do you draw inspiration? People, places, things—and which ones?
I like to see what other people are up to. So instagram is great, I follow lots of great photographers (like Brian Ferry! And Emily Johnston!) and am inspired seeing where they are, what they're shooting etc. I love things like the Art Book Fair that happens in LA once a year because I love to see the little independent books and prints that people are making all over the world. I like to see lo-fi stuff, something that someone just wanted to make and they didn't need a publisher to make it happen. I'm inspired by what my friends are doing. Almost everyone I know is running some kind of small creative business—graphic design, textiles, photography, writing, music. And everyone approaches things differently. That's inspiring. Again, community. I would not be able to keep being creative if I was a lone wolf. I'm so grateful for the people around me who keep on trucking and doing amazing things.
Don't stop here, follow Laure Joliet on Instagram.
Laure Joliet wears The Kensington Leather.
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