Color Field — Interview with Photographer Lauren Kai Quartey

Color field exploration by Los Angeles-based Lauren Kai Quartey.

on January 26, 2019

  • How would you describe yourself as an artist?
LQ: Well, I guess I identify with the term ‘artist’ because for me everything is perceived as an art form. I try to live my life finding the beauty within everything and taking everyday life experience and interpreting it into something I can eventually put into my art.
  • Why Photography?
LQ: Originally, my interest was solely becoming a fashion designer so I moved to Los Angeles with the intention of going to college to get a BA in design. I went for two years and then realized that 1. School wasn’t for me. and 2. Photography had more of my interest. I think I fell more in love with the process of photography.. The instant gratification of seeing the results of what I had just worked so hard on. Whereas, in design it’s a way longer/tedious process and patience is KEY!
  • Do you feel your work has a specific style? If so, how would you describe it and how long did it take to develop?
LQ: I’ve been told my work has a style that allows for it to be differentiated which I’m always happy to hear. When I look at my work, I see this softness that is exhibited in almost all of my work... When developing my style I wouldn’t say that’s what I was going for but somehow my work just turned into that. Which i’m not too mad about I believe the softness is a direct reflection of myself.
  • What are some goals for your art and photography?
LQ: Hmm, I really enjoy making photo books and working on specific sets that give a feeling/tell a story. I would say I would love to travel and create art to share with the masses that teaches them something and provokes a feeling. Honestly, I would consider this any photographer's ultimate dream.
  • What makes a smooth and successful shoot?
LQ: Smooth sailing! Lol! I love for everyone I’m working with to feel comfortable and happy. I try not to make shooting feel like it’s a job for anyone that’s involved (unless that’s what is appropriate for the particular shoot). Good music, good conversation, and fun makes a beautiful shoot for me! And of course, being able to connect with my subject but this is usually no problem if the set is comfortable and inviting.
  • Was there any inspiration behind this specific shoot?
LQ: Often times I’ll get inspired by a photo that I see in a magazine or online but for this shoot first thing that came to mind when looking at model and friend Elaine was to play with color. We spoke about doing a beauty shoot so I figured why not do a story showing how the color spectrum works with her skin tone.
  • Has your photography and art in general had any influence over your everyday life?
LQ: Yes, of course! As I said before being an artist allows me to interpret things entirely different.  Although, life can be tricky at times I love taking my experience and turning it into art.
  • Any other mediums other than photography interest you?
LQ: I grew up loving drawing and painting. I used to have an obsession with horses when I was younger so I started drawing them when I was 5 or 6 and the practice turned into a love for drawing in general. Also, used to play violin and dance - I’d love to pick up both again.
  • If you could describe what the experience of shooting with you is like in three words how would you describe it?
LQ: Effortless, Enjoyable, and … Magical (lol).
  • Are there any other photographers/artists that inspire you?
LQ: Andy Warhol, Gordon Parks, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Peter Lindbergh, Yayoi Kusama, Sally Mann, Dorothea Lange, & Mario Sorrenti.
  • Dream collaborators?
Celine, Rag & Bone, Phillip Lim, Acne, i-D, W, Vogue, and I would love to shoot something with Solange and of course, Frank Ocean… I love, love, love Frank Ocean.
  • If you could be doing anything after this day what would it be?
LQ: Traveling the world, shooting beautiful photos/making films, and eating amazing food.

Los Angeles