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Photographer Laurence Laborie — Artist Portrait (1/2)

Award-winning fashion and beauty photographer Laurence Laborie has worked with some of the biggest brands in her more than twenty years as a pro and is widely considered one of the most influential fashion photographers of her generation. Learn about what inspires her in the first of a two-part interview in which she reveals what got her started in photography — and what keeps her going.

Photographer Laurence Laborie — Artist Portrait (1/2)

In beauty photography, we select models with flawless features, but it’s more than just that — there is something in their look, in their attitude, that brings out the best in the makeup.

Photographer Laurence Laborie — Artist Portrait (1/2)

Award-winning fashion and beauty photographer Laurence Laborie has worked with some of the biggest brands in her more than twenty years as a pro and is widely considered one of the most influential fashion photographers of her generation. Learn about what inspires her in the first of a two-part interview in which she reveals what got her started in photography — and what keeps her going.

Make Up For Ever: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your experience with photography? How did you get started?

Laurence Laborie: It was completely by chance, in fact. When I was a teenager I found an instant camera on a bench and started playing around with it. I took photos, but I noticed that my photos didn’t look anything like the ones I would see in my parents’ magazines — these gorgeous photos that made every subject beautiful. I realised there must be something more to it than just simply pointing and shooting, a certain secret that lay beneath that I really wanted to unearth. As an engineering student, I was drawn to the technical aspect of it — I found it magical. I think photography is something I simply had to do — it’s a part of me. 

I then found myself in the world of beauty and fashion photography, also by chance. As a student I was approached by a modelling scout. Short of cash, I decided to give modelling a go. Of course, I was already a passionate photographer inspired by what I saw in fashion magazines, so I began shooting look books for my model girlfriends. I found it so much more gratifying working with professional models who really know how to work with image, and things just progressed from there.

Make Up For Ever: What inspires you in your work?

Laurence Laborie: I tend to really draw from fashion, even when shooting beauty campaigns. I try to construct my beauty shots the way I would a fashion shot. For me, true beauty lies in movement, which you get in fashion photography. I try to integrate that into my beauty shots as well.

Make Up For Ever: How is shooting fashion different from a beauty shoot?

Laurence Laborie: On a fashion shoot, the focus is obviously the clothing. There are proportions to consider, movement, even the way air flows through the garment. When taking beauty shots, of course the objective is to draw out the beauty of the model. This means using different types of models for the different types of shoots. You have girls on whom you can drape anything — a demure little top or a leather biker jacket — and they look sublime. In beauty photography, we select models with flawless features, but it’s more than just that — there is something in their look, in their attitude, that brings out the best in the makeup.

Make Up For Ever: What emotions do you try to convey in your work?

Laurence Laborie: When I’m shooting a campaign, I take into account what the brand is trying to convey, and from there I attempt to bring out an emotion or an attitude — be it confidence, sensuality, arrogance… Above all, I take pictures that please me. For the viewer, I want to give an intense feeling of desire.


Make Up For Ever: What’s next for you?

Laurence Laborie: I’ve been working on an exhibition for some time now, but first I need to put out a book of my work — a book on women. I’d like to start working with film — the possibilities that the digital format brings to filming is truly amazing. What I really need to do is isolate myself in my country house in Normandy where the light is truly special — bright, colorful, not like grey tones we find in Paris. Then I just have to roll up my sleeves and get to it!

 

Check back next month for part 2 of our interview with Laurence in which she discusses the transformative qualities of light.

 

 

  • Tags:
  • Light,
  • Beauty photography,
  • Fashion photography,
  • Makeup,
  • Backstage.