Features

Meet The Collective: Lauren Marek’s Stories From The Sidelines

By Ellen Clipson - 4 min read

We dig deeper into how Texas-based photographer Lauren Marek got started in sports photography, how they integrate it into their commercial portfolio, and what their unique photojournalistic style really means.

Whether it be Lauren’s distinctly authentic style or her outstanding mobile photography skills, Lauren Marek remains one of EyeEm’s best, and longest standing, contributors. Based between Houston and Austin, Lauren and her partner Carra continue to balance their creative careers whilst renovating their home and starting a family.

From Visual Style To Sports Photography: Advice On Finding Your Angle

Your portfolio has an unmistakable softness and nostalgia to it. What are the key elements that create this visual aesthetic?

I think it’s a mix of my visual aesthetic, lighting, and color processing. My work has evolved a lot over the years but I’m always drawn to hometown nostalgic moments that feel like memories.

Your images also manage to hold a certain photojournalistic look. For you, what are some of the key elements that make an image striking?

I try to capture in-between moments and document life as it’s happening. Images are interesting to me when they tell a story - and not necessarily the story I’m trying to tell.

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You often work using your mobile. What’s the biggest myth about mobile photography that you would like to break?

I love shooting on mobile. People assume to be a ‘great’ photographer you have to have the best gear but in reality the best camera is the one you have with you.

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You’ve worked on some amazing commissioned projects and collaborated with major brands. How do you adjust your approach when you’re working with clients?

Commercial work is such a fun challenge for me. It’s finding that balance of what the client needs and your skill set and style. Luckily, most of my clients have given me the creative freedom to do what I do best and that kind of trust always leads to the best work.

How did you end up getting involved in sports photography?

I played a lot of sports growing up and as a photographer I’ve always been drawn to the nostalgia of middle school and high school sports. Those formative years are so intensely emotional and all encompassing.

The culture of sports is so much more than the action on the field. That’s my entire approach to photography. I feel like all the little moments are so much more interesting and tell a broader story. The photo set as a whole can feel more like a memory - as if the viewer is actually there.

When it comes to capturing sports events, what are some of the biggest challenges as a photographer?

The biggest challenge would definitely be trying to remain unseen. I try to use a small camera setup to not draw attention to myself as I want to capture moments as they happen and not make people feel aware of the camera.

Your sports-focused projects are part of your incredibly diverse portfolio. How do you ensure they are complimentary to wider collection of work and visual style?

To be honest, I really don’t think about those things. I try to be true to the moment and create the best work that I can. I don’t want to be a photographer of one thing - I want to capture everything.

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We caught up with both you and your partner Carra back in 2018 about how you were both using your professional creative work as a tool for getting people’s voices heard and stories told. Fast-forward 4 years later, what continues to be the key driver for your creative work?

That definitely still holds true and is something that we will always be striving for. Currently, Carra and I are entering a new phase in life. We got married last year and are expecting our first baby in spring! So our current focus is on bringing that new human into this world and documenting those special moments together.

With LGBTQ+ History Month having kicked off in the UK and Hungary this month, we’re encouraging brands and creatives to use their platforms to increase positive visibility for the LGBTQ+ community. How do you see photography as an important driver or tool for positive change?

Representation is so important. Seeing someone like yourself being represented in a career field or featured in advertisements and films has such a huge impact. Photography can be used to create empathy by telling other peoples’ stories.

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What is your advice for any brands that are selecting images or creative assets? How can they help raise awareness and exposure for the representation of the LGBTQ+ community?

Hire LGBTQ+ for your campaigns and absolutely include LGBTQ+ couples in your creative assets.

Looking ahead to 2021, what is a key visual trend that you’re predicted to see?

I would say ‘authentic’ and ‘real’ imagery has been and will still be on-trend for a while.

Want to see more of Lauren’s work? Check out her EyeEm portfolio, her website, or follow her on Instagram.

If you’re craving more inspiration from talented photographers, check out our recent interview with Collective member, photographer and director, Marta Pang. Or find out how Rory Doyle went from beginner to shooting for ‘The New York Times’, ‘The Guardian’, and ‘The Washington Post.’

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