It's one thing to go to places in which we've heard of their beauty and another thing to wander around places where no one speaks of. Photographer Lorena Lohr moves in around in smaller, intimate places obscured by vacation spots. We interview Lorena about her travelogue here.
Hi, Lorena, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Firstly, when and how did you start taking pictures?
I found a cheap film camera about 10 years ago and began just to make a record of what I was looking at or where I was. The collection grew from there.
Do you travel a lot? What kind/s of scenery do you like to take photographs of?
As much as I’m able to, but not always on a long distance trip. I also move around on a smaller scale, through particular areas of a city or town, or even down a particular street, like Broadway at Night. I started to travel the US by Greyhound and the railway lines seven years ago, on monthly passes that allowed for many stops, and to go around the towns along the way only on foot. The Southwest is the main focus in particular, the desert towns and USA-Mexico border towns in Texas and Arizona. But really an image can come out of most anywhere.
Your compositions are conscious and careful. Why do you approach scenes in such manner?
I don’t try and work that out too much or have any continuous approach. But there’s always an interest to preserve the arrangements that are present in interiors, streets and building facades, both in public and private spaces - to record the way these objects are seen at that point in time, having been placed that way by the people coming and going, and how layers of narrative are built up in the way these objects are left behind.
Why do you often refer to the Ocean in your series titles?
The Ocean is one of the motifs that are present in the signage of so many places, it attached itself to the images from repetition.
Your images are often pastel-painted, but there's some seriousness going on in the image despite a subtle palette. Any reason behind the chosen palette?
No reason in particular, mainly that’s how the scene looked at the time to me. Maybe I find pastel to speak louder and brighter colors in a way to be more subtle, or it could be possible that the more mysterious or ineffable qualities of the objects are revealed in muted colour, something closer to black and white.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Who are your muses?
Hard to be specific here - many books and records and images taken in day to day - but one longstanding interest of mine is painting. I can look a long time at how the Northern European painters from the 1400s and early 1500s (Cranach, Bosch, Memling etc) would translate all kinds of forms from both the natural and man-made worlds into their own visual language with a harmonious line, color, and composition, giving equal attention to everything they featured.
If you could work, collaborate or meet with any photographer or artist, who would it be, and what would you be doing?
I’d rather just watch - but to see some of the above paintings being made would really be something.
What do you usually do during your downtime? Any on-going project, or other plans you're keen to work on?
I’m currently planning a project a project I’ll be carrying out in El Paso in the fall, a study of its Hispanic downtown neighborhoods. And also right now I’m working with the writer Louise Benson on the first issue of a biannual magazine in print, Scenic Views, a different kind of interiors magazine, which catalogues everyday interior spaces; the home, meeting-places like cafés and restaurants, workplaces, transportation centres, and other places which tend to be overlooked - a collection of photographs and oral history.