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Alumni Spotlight: Lauren O’Neil ’14

EC Alum and graphic designer Lauren O'neil  All photos courtesy of Lauren O'neil

EC Alum and graphic designer Lauren O’Neil
All photos courtesy of Lauren O’Neil

 

Recent EC grad Lauren O’Neil was featured in last week’s Style section of the Boston Globe, showcasing her impressive Instagram. When she’s not working her day job at the education firm Amplify, the graphic designer is shooting street fashion photography, and other subjects that inspire her. O’Neil majored in Graphic Design and minored in Communication Media & Cultural Studies.

Check out Lauren’s website here and her Instagram here.

Read the full Boston Globe interview here.

Q.) Where do you find inspiration for your graphic design work?

A.) I’m really interested in portraying things for what they are. I don’t like anything extra or too complex. Simplicity and a minimal concept is key when designing. People like things to be straightforward. I’m also really inspired by subtle aspects of the city and the normal, everyday life we live. It’s raw and it’s not contrived, and I really like to bring that into my artwork. It gives me the refreshed perspective I sometimes need.

Q.) How do you find subjects to shoot?

A.)  When I’m walking around I don’t really search for anything in particular, mainly I just keep my eyes open for anything that could catch my interest. That could be a group of people interacting on a street corner, a person walking alone and not paying attention, an interesting looking façade, etc. I really just like to keep an eye out for people in their natural moments; complete raw content. The environment plays a big part, and I like to place a subject in a simple environment, allowing the eye to focus on the main subject. I am a huge fan of symmetry and for Instagram purposes, I like my profile to have a balance. The parts all work together to form a whole piece.

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When I do actual shoots, I photograph people who have an interesting aesthetic and a unique look. I don’t want to change a person’s aesthetic, I want to capture their true personality during the shoot. I want them to be completely comfortable. Most are my friends or people I went to college with. It’s as simple as, “hey I like your look, can we do a shoot together?” It’s the same as when I am on the street. I have to react fast and always be on the look out in order to capture people I find interesting. I got a lot of practice asking strangers if I could photograph them during my senior thesis.

Another big reason I like to photograph people in a raw state as they naturally are on the street is to portray people of all genders and ethnicities on the same level. Fashion photography gets a bad rep with the over-sexualization of females and aggressive nature of males, and often plays into racial stereotypes. I think the beauty of raw, street fashion photography is that that can’t happen. It’s not a contrived shoot; it presents a person at that exact moment for what exactly they are.

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Q.) What tips do you have for other photographers trying to break into street photography?

A.)Get comfortable with exploring and walking around. Go to places you’ve never been, but also go back to the places you’ve been a 1000 times and look at them differently. There is a lot you’re probably missing. Ask a person to take their photo if you like the space they are in. The worst they will say is no, which has happened to me plenty of times. You’ll get over it and move onto the next subject.

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Q.) Has social media affected the way you approach applying for jobs? What do you feel is the best way for college students to utilize social media to promote themselves?

A.) I think specific parts of social media are super influential when you’re applying for jobs. If you’re an artist, you can really use Instagram to promote your artwork and gain attention through that platform. Instagram allows you to list your portfolio/website in your profile, so use it as the small preview to your larger site. It’s an extension of you and your portfolio, so you might as well curate it to your own particular aesthetic. Companies will look at your profile and often ask you to list your Instagram. LinkedIn is also great for getting yourself out there and networking. If you’re not going to use other parts of social media professionally, it’s best to make it private. You don’t have to share everything with the world. It’s also not necessary to use social media for job purposes at all; some people don’t like it. Do what you are comfortable with.

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Posted by on February 16, 2015. Filed under Art & Culture,The Week's End. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.