If there’s one person out there bearing witness to Cape Town’s queer, colourful and cutting edge creative scenes, it’s Lauren Brits. Whether it’s at a trendy happening, a glitter fest, or a protest, this dedicated and prolific film photographer with an eye for capturing Cape Town’s underground zeitgeist can always be spotted, her camera in hand.
SOURCE(S) OF INSPIRATION:
I look to a lot of local photographers like Luca Vincenzo, Gabriella Achadinha, The Seppi’s, Ricardo Simal and Travys Owen, as well as international ones, like Petra Collins, Millicent Hailes, Nadia Lee Cohen, and so many more. I find it helpful to reference online and print publications, designers and brands to see how far you can push, mold and challenge the medium of photography within a professional environment. So pretty much anything from Between 10&5, Pansy Mag, Dazed and Confused, Sticks and Stones Mothership, and Lazy Oaf. The list is endless.
TURN AROUND TIME BETWEEN INSPIRATION, EXECUTION AND SHARING:
Ooooooo, nice question. I started out shooting mostly fashion, art and queer events I found interesting or inspirational, so I try to get those out as soon as I can because you’re competing with mostly digital photographers, who are able to edit and share within an evening. With film it can be tricky as you have to have cash for film and development and a great relationship with your local developer — as well as a shitload of patience.
Recently I have been trying to work on more fashion based / conceptual work. Depending on the state of my anxiety and depression, it does take more time to coordinate the different elements, but that’s where the beauty and importance of collaboration comes in.
I like to keep an eye on and collect references from other photographers and what they are doing within their industry. My Pinterest game be strong. I am also that guy that mulls over the instruction manuals of my cameras to make sure I get my settings correct. You only have 36 opportunities to get it right without any form of preview, so you’ve got to make them count.
HARDEST PART OF DOING WHAT YOU DO:
I think what I personally struggle with the most is trying not to be so hard on myself, especially when mental health issues come into play. There are so many talented photographers out there, and you cannot help but compare yourself to them. I try to tell myself that every opportunity is one to learn from and that no one is able to capture what you can, or see what you see. Then of course there’s the lack of cash dolla. I could have picked a more affordable hobby, but there is just such a nostalgic and timeless essence to film that just doesn’t compare to digital.
HOW MUCH EMPHASIS DO YOU PLACE ON MAINTAINING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE?:
I try to upload content as regularly as possible. Social media is such a great tool for getting your work out there, and it provides a space for you to create dialogue with like-minded people, which provides so many opportunities for collaboration.
DO YOU HAVE A DAY JOB OR HAVE YOU MADE YOUR CREATIVE PASSION PAY?:
I actually graduated with a B.A. in graphic design and currently work as a digital designer. Luckily photography and graphic design go hand in hand so there are opportunities for me to incorporate my passion into my daily grind.
YOUR MOUNT EVEREST:
To produce a beautifully laid-out coffee table book of all my photographs is my top life goal, but at the moment I am in the concept phase of a really amazing portrait series that highlights influential people in the queer community — with a plan to produce a zine with the results, so watch this space.