Spotlight On: Lauryn Holmquist

A close look at the personal, storytelling photography of Lauryn Holmquist.


Our weekly Portfolio Spotlight series is a close-up look at the talented people using Format websites to showcase their work. This week, we interview photographer Lauryn Holmquist.

Often placing herself in front of the camera, Lauryn Holmquist creates photographs that feel like stills recovered from a lost old movie. Whether capturing her friends, Nan Goldin-style, or making portraits of herself, Holmquist’s imagery has a unique, moody feeling.

On her website, the Los Angeles-based photographer keeps things simple, showcasing her personal work in a diary series, with exploratory self-portrait work in separate galleries. With minimal text in her portfolio, Holmquist’s enigmatic images leave the viewer curious about the stories behind them.

We got in touch with Holmquist to find out what cameras she uses to achieve the wonderfully grainy vibe of her shots, and who inspires her photography.


How did you first get into photography?

When I look back, I realize I’ve had a fascination with taking photos since I was very young. I used to create sets in bedroom and photograph my cats when I was nine years old or so. I became more serious after I started modeling 10 years later. Less documenting my cats, more documenting the things and people around me.

What cameras do you shoot with?

My Olympus mju is definitely an extra limb. I also use a Contax G2 and a Polaroid Land Camera.

Your photos have such a personal feel. Are you typically shooting your friends and personal life?

Usually yes. I have some kind of emotional tie to everyone in my photos. It’s harder for me to shoot someone I haven’t developed even a small connection with.

Could you talk about one photo that’s particularly meaningful to you?

There’s one of my dear friend Emma, from before I moved away from New York City. We’re hopping around Brooklyn, mid-March, through the apocalyptic weather. Trash and snow are flying everywhere and we can’t help but laugh at the chaos. She’s standing in front of an old red Cadillac and in that moment I was reminded how endless my love for her was.

What inspires your work?

Definitely old movies. But mainly just getting to know someone. There’s a certain comfortability I gain just by seeing how they react and move about life. Those subtleties and gestures inspire me immensely.

How do you use your website to showcase your photos?

It feels like the purest space to share the whole story. A place where I can bare it all without a concern for immediate reaction. Plus I love curating around an emotion and my website gives me the opportunity to create a space in which people can feel that emotion too; something much bigger than a tiny square on Instagram allows.

Name two artists or photographers we should be following.

Nika de Carlo (@nikathedreamer) and Jac Martinez (@justjac) are two woman I respect very much. Always eager to see what they’re creating.


Think your Format portfolio should be featured in our Portfolio Spotlight series? Send us a link to be considered.

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