10 minutes with Dave Lauridsen

Random August 19, 2013 5:40 am

When did you first know you wanted to be a photographer?

I didn’t discover photography until I’d been in college for over three years already, but when I took a photo class on a whim to fill an elective I fell in love with it instantly. That was in the early nineties, so I was shooting film, and can still vividly remember the first time I was in the darkroom making a print. It was so magical to see the image start coming up while I rocked the tray of developer back and forth, I was shaking I was so excited. I didn’t realize at that point that I could make a living at as a photographer so it was a little while before I decided to pursue it as a career but I knew it was something I’d be doing one way or another for the rest of my life. Up ’til then, I’d been studying a bit of everything, constantly changing my major, and getting decent grades, but I didn’t really love anything until then so it was a huge breath of fresh air to finally find something i was passionate about. When I started thinking about pursuing it as a career, a lot of people discouraged me at first, telling me it was way to difficult to make a living. That was probably the best motivator I could’ve had, because I’ve always had a bit of a rebellious spirit about me so the more people were telling me to not go for it, the more determined I was to do it.

 

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

 

Was there a particular moment when you realized that you could do it – be a photographer and make a living off of it? A big shoot or a great meeting with a client?

Yes, actually it was one of my first jobs that I realized I could actually make a living as a photographer. I’d been out of school for only a few months at the time and had been shooting pretty regularly already, locally, for a handful of editorial clients. One day I got a call to shoot an annual report and was so excited to get a job so soon that paid more than an editorial rate. I knew I wasn’t going to be getting rich but it was still a step up. When I submitted the estimate I thought there was no way they would ever approve it, it just looked like a crazy number to me. The design firm called back and told me I was going to have to more than double the estimate before they would even show it to the client. I was expecting them to say the opposite and kept asking them to clarify what they were saying, thinking I’d misheard them. I’d never traveled for a job at that point and was used to eating fast food and sharing hotel rooms when I’d travel on personal shoots so I’d estimated the shoot with that mentality as I just didn’t know any better. From their perspective, they’d worked with a pretty generous budget on this job for the past couple of years and were afraid of losing that budget if I did the job for less. Anyways, after two more rounds of bumping up every line item on the estimate and no idea how I could ever spend that much money, the client approved the job. Unfortunately, I’ve never been in that situation again but it was a big confidence booster to see firsthand that what I was doing had some real value to it.

 

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

 

Which photographers, do you think, have inspired you the most?

Paul Strand, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Robert Adams, Harry Callahan, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Stephen Shore, Lewis Baltz, Gary Winogrand, Nadav Kander, Andreas Gursky, Candida Hofer, Richard Mishrach, Joel Sternfeld, Stefan Ruiz: these are all photographers I go back to again and again and never get tired of.

 

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

 

What do you think about the current state of editorial photography?

Well, it’s definitely changed a lot over the twelve years since I started shooting, and I think it’s mostly due to budget constraints. The most obvious sign to me has been how travel has changed. A few years ago I was rarely working where I live, in Los Angeles. I was traveling for almost every assignment, and these days I shoot locally a lot more because there just aren’t the budgets to send a photographer somewhere for every shoot. Also, when I’m traveling nowadays, it’s pretty common that I either have to work without an assistant or find someone locally, so on top of what’s already expected of me I’m now either doing the job of the assistant myself, or else training someone on the job who will most likely only work with me for that one job. Yeah, it’s a lot more work and people are asking me to do a lot more with less resources, but hey, I’m getting paid to see the world and take photos, so I try to keep that perspective about things and it helps me have a better attitude when I’m being asked to do the impossible. If what I’m being asked to do really sounds that bad, I can always just pass on the assignment.

If I were entering now, would I be as optimistic?

I probably would be. I tend to be somewhat naive from time to time and think I can do anything so I’m sure if i were just starting I’d have that same attitude now.

 

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

Dave Lauridsen

 

Any advice for up and coming photographers?

I guess, be a bit naive, believe that you can do anything and work really hard to make it happen.

 

(Dave is based in Los Angeles. See more of his work, here)

1 Comment

Leave a reply

required

required

optional