Location: Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles-based professional Lauren Dukoff is only in her mid-20s, but she has already published a book, Family (Chronicle), and her work has been exhibited at the UCLA Hammer Museum. Dukoff’s portraits have been characterized as moments in time between friends. She captures a unique sense of intimacy in her images.
I went to Brooks in Santa Barbara, but became uninspired by formal photography school and decided to drop out after only one year. In reality, I learned by doing. I was able to land an internship with one of my favorite photographers, Autumn de Wilde, after I left photo school. I learned more from watching her work than I ever did in a classroom.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned either from a teacher or mentor?
My father once told me the key to success is perseverance. He said there will always be people out there who are more talented than you, people who are after the same jobs you are—but the key is to stick it out and just keep doing what you do. Eventually, a lot of those other people will fall by the wayside because this kind of work and all the rejection it entails will be too difficult for them. If you can weather the storm and stay focused, you’ll eventually succeed. That’s the best advice I’ve ever been given.
What was your first job?
I guess the first shoot I got paid for was shooting Mary J. Blige in the recording studio for Rolling Stone.
What advice would you give to a photographer who is still in school?
I would highly recommend interning for a photographer you admire. It’s an invaluable opportunity to really learn how the industry works and a chance to be inspired by someone you respect on a daily basis. There are many useful tools you learn in photo school, but getting out there and submerging yourself in the industry is the best next step. Also, as obvious as it sounds, you need to never stop shooting. Bring your camera with you everywhere!
What inspires you about photography?
I’m inspired by the opportunity to capture a moment. As simple as that sounds, it’s what I enjoy most about photography as an art form.
What kind of camera equipment do you use?
I shoot film, more specifically, Kodak color and Ilford black-and-white. I light with Profoto and Kino Flo.
What’s your favorite piece of Canon gear?
The first camera I ever shot with was a Canon EOS A2. This is the camera my father gave to me when I was 13. My very first photographs were taken with a Canon, and I still shoot with that very same camera on a regular basis. As for lenses, I love the Canon EF 24mm ƒ/1.4L II USM lens. It’s incredibly sharp and very fast, which makes it great for some of my low-light portraiture.
To see more of Lauren Dukoff’s work, go to www.laurendukoff.com.