Laura Austin’s a tomboy in all the right ways.
She used to be a sponsored snowboarder, taught herself graphic design, got a job at Snowboarder, rides a skateboard better than you, takes fine photos, and she’s kind of a babe too. Talk about life goals. Oh, and she’s also shot Tiger Woods for Nike.
1. High School Nickname?
On the sports teams I played on I was known as ‘Hollywood,’ but to the skate/snowboard crowd I hung out with I was known as LAustin (pronounced lost-in). These days a few people still call me LAustin, but otherwise I go by my drunken alter ego, ‘El Tigre.’
2. First Camera?
I think it was a shitty digital Canon Rebel (Canon’s intro body for their DSLRs). It’s funny, a bunch of people think that my photos are shot on film, but all my professional stuff is digital (I use a Canon 5D Mark III). I use film for personal stuff, some of those cameras include a Contax T2, Polaroid cameras, shitty toy cameras, etc.
My subject matter’s broad when it comes to shooting professionally: lifestyle, sports, travel and beyond. I have to find ways to still get excited about what I’m shooting, even if the subject matter doesn’t interest me too much. I shot Tiger Woods for Nike last year, and I’m not exactly a fan of golf—but I went into it thinking that I wanted to shoot Tiger in a way he has never been shot before, make him come across as approachable and, human. So I get excited about a creative challenge. I can be equally excited about shooting your grandma’s wedding, or a huge ad campaign.
In the past year, I went to Turkey, Croatia, Argentina (Patagonia), Uruguay, Mexico, Scotland, Canada, all over the US, and I’m hopping on a plane to Spain in a few days. Japan is very high on that list right now, and I wouldn’t mind New Zealand either; the landscapes seem up my alley.
5. What is it that you love about photographing people?
Having people in scene creates more of a story than just beautiful landscapes. It gives context. Also for the viewer, I think it subconsciously makes these amazing places seem more attainable, because of the human element. My favourite photo’s one of my sister overlooking a glacier lake in Iceland. I love the graphic nature of it and the colour contrast. I spent 2 weeks driving around Iceland with my family and this was one of the spots I was most excited to see. When we parked, you had to climb over a bank of dirt before you could see the lake, when we crested the hill and saw the lake I literately started running around jumping for joy. I have an affinity for wide-open landscapes and this area, combined with the milky blue glacier water, and the mist created from the light rain at the time created my dream scenario. It also won me Monster Children’s travel category of the photo contest with this photo a few years back, so that adds to my fondness of it for sure.