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Get to know Local Artist in Action: Laura Austin

Laura Austin is a Los Angeles based photographer and travel writer, whose stunning photos manage to capture stories from across the globe through a single moment. Laura’s work makes us feel connected to the world around us, and shows us the possibilities of exploration and discovering natural environments. Laura’s work is featured at Common Elmwood as part of our Local Art in Action program, a program that looks to unite the communities within our homes with the communities around them. Continue reading to learn more about Laura, her photography, her favorite L.A. spots, and her advice for building connections in a new city.

Get to know Laura Austin

First things first, introduce yourself!

Well… my name is Laura Austin and I am a photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. I don’t want to give to much away, because I think we will cover it below 🙂

You grew up in a small town in Colorado before relocating to LA — how does your upbringing affect your perspective on city living?

I was born in Colorado, lived there until I was 13 and then moved to another small mountain town in Vermont with my family. I’ve been in California for the past 12 years now and it definitely feels like home now. Regardless, with growing up in nature I can still become pretty claustrophobic in the city so I need to make a point to venture out on a regular basis.

Where do you draw your inspiration from for your art?

My background is in graphic design, I studied it in college and went on to work as a designer for years before becoming a photographer. I would say design influences my photography more than anything else. My photography tends to have a lot of negative space, rich colors, and tends to feel very graphic in nature.

If you could only use a few words, how would you describe your work?

Story-telling that makes you feel like you were there.

Since you are always on the go and exploring, what are some ways you feel at home no matter where you are?

I think any sort of routine can make you feel at home when you are on the move… particularly your morning routine. Mine includes meditation and making coffee with an overly complicated kit I always travel with… but I thoroughly enjoy the process in the morning. My camera also helps with feeling at home. It is my most trusted travel companion and gives me some sense of familiarity no matter where I am. Photography is also a great ice breaker to meet folks in areas where you might not know anyone.

It’s no secret that loneliness is a growing problem in cities. What are ways that you have been able to connect and meet new people while living in LA?

That’s a funny thing isn’t it? I have definitely felt more lonely in a city filled with people than being completely alone in nature. I think going to workshops, talks, art museums, shows can help you feel much more connected in a city even if you are showing up to these things alone. If you are attending things that you are interested in then you are much more likely to find like-minded people.

What’s your favorite local spot in LA?

Oh wow? Just a single one. There are so many different categories so I’ll break it down a bit. Food: 9th Street Ramen. Nature: Sturtevant Falls. Museum/Gallery: Hauser & Wirth. Bar: Drawing Room. Bookstore: The Last Bookstore That’s at least a good start.

What’s your favorite place?

Probably Big Sur, California. I have been all over the world, so it’s funny that my favorite place is a 6 hour drive from me. But there is something about Big Sur that is so magical with the giant Redwood forests butted up against the dramatic rocky coastline. Anytime I am going through a difficult time I tend to head off to Big Sur to heal or find inspiration.

What upcoming project are you most excited about?

In June I am leading a 8-day trip through some of my favorite places in California… Airstream is providing each person who comes on the trip with a trailer. It should be absolutely incredible. You can learn more about the trip here:https://satopiatravel.com/experience/airstream-california-2020/ Thank you, Laura! If you’d like to buy one of Laura’s prints for your own space, you can visit her shop, and use the code Common for 25% off.

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