Nov 18, 2019
Laura is a British photographer who works around portraiture and social documentary. Describing her images as "intense, quiet and intimate", Laura seeks to portray her subjects as truthfully as possible, perceiving time, trust and understanding to be the key elements to achieving this. "Youth without age" emerges as a personal need to escape, adventure and roam in reaction to internal pressures that Laura experienced when she felt that time was moving too fast. The result is a series of timeless images that evoke peacefulness and nostalgia, showing us that in some places time can slow down.
am - Hello Laura, thank you for this interview. How did you start in photography?
LP - My father is a photographer however I didn’t ever take a picture until I was 20. Both of my parents have always had a creative influence. I studied fine art painting and as part of my foundation I had the opportunity to try photography. After my first lesson I was told I had talent and this encouraged me. Within a week I was instantly hooked; my ambition of being a graphic designer obliterated and I realised I was in love.
am - What is "Youth without age" about?
LP - "Youth without age" is the hardest of my projects to summarise, as it is purposely a body of work that isn’t ‘noun in location’, i.e. Naturists in the UK etc… My aim with each project is to scare myself and learn. I had hit a wall with ideas and buried myself into a pit of despair. I felt like each idea I had was useless and I was reaching my thirties and feeling an overwhelming sense of under-achievement. I decided I needed an adventure. I escaped to a country I had always wanted to go that was cheap and beautiful. I found kindness from the locals by reaching out online in advance for assistance and accommodation. After a few trips I was still stuck for ideas but confident I wanted to make work in this stunning place that seemed timeless. My friend and assistant Andrei Nacu pointed out that a famous local tale echoed my struggles and rants and I saw it as serendipity. "Youth without age and life without death" explained how I felt. I wanted time to stop, I wanted to adventure and never age but actually what I should be focusing on was the now. I took inspiration to return to a method of play and I fascinated images up that pushed me to make more than a simple portrait.
am - What inspires your work?
LP - Inspiration comes from infinite sources. I don’t rely on one person or method. I screen-shot films, see shows, read…. Mostly I would say it comes from conversation and diary entries.
am - How would you describe your visual language?
LP - My language is intense, quiet, intimate and controlled but not staged. I like to paint images but they can sometimes appear quickly and I sketch reactively in a documentary sense or I spent long periods of time building the image in my head gradually.
am - What are your main interests as an artist?
LP - To learn and explore.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
LP - "Requiem for a dream" or "Aladdin".
am - What is your favourite photo book?
LP - Ooooo tough one. It depends, for research "Sketchbooks" by Thames and Hudson or "Image Makers / Image Takers", "Annie Leiobowitz at work". For pleasure "Roma Journeys" by Joakim Eskildsen.
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
LP - Thanks for having me!! xx
All images © Laura Pannack