You may know Laurenne Ross as an athlete, but she has a love and passion for photography. Armed with the Lubitel, Laurenne traveled the globe after competing for team USA in this past Winter Olympics. We got to chat with her about her love for her sport and photography.
Hi Laurenne, welcome to the magazine. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thanks! I'm excited to be a part of the Lomography community. I am a professional ski racer, an artist, and an explorer. I was born in Canada and learned to ski in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, then moved to Oregon when I was 7. I'm an Olympic athlete, but I identify more with my artistic side.
You're a skier, how'd you get into the sport? What has that been like for you?
My dad grew up skiing and racing, so he put me on skis basically right when I could walk. I'm so lucky to have been given the opportunity to grow and learn in the mountains -- I've seen some incredible places and all of my art has been highly influenced by that. It's been pretty amazing to be able to travel so much throughout my life. Ski racing can be an intense and stressful scene, but being able to make art and take photos helps me to maintain balance.
How was going to the Olympics? Any cool memories or stories?
The Olympics were crazy! It was so fun to be a part of something bigger -- to represent my country on the World's stage and meet all of my American teammates. Normally we as ski racers are pretty self-absorbed since we're in an individual sport, but being a part of team USA was a different experience. The highlight of my games experience was probably walking in Opening Ceremonies, and also pushing out of the start gate in my races!
How'd you get into photography?
My grandpa gave me his 35 mm film camera when I was about 10, and I've been shooting ever since. I started playing with cameras when I was little, and I can't stop!
What about film excites you?
Getting my negatives and scans back is definitely the most exciting part, but my favorite part of film photography is how it forces you to take a step back and take your time. To get a good image, you have to look at the world from different angles, and I love that it constantly forces you to alter your perspective. You're forced to really focus and take your time shooting, unlike with digital cameras or smartphones, because there is a limit to how many shots you can take.
How was working with the Lubitel?
I love the quality you get from shooting with 120 film. I've really enjoyed messing with a larger aperture and taking double exposures. It's been such a fun experiment, and some of the images I've shot have turned out really interesting and different than what I expected in a wonderful way!
Working with the Lubitel, you have to shoot pretty much from the hip. How'd that change the way you see the world and photograph it?
Shooting from the hip definitely takes some getting used to. When you're looking at what you want to take a photo of, you have to think of what it will look like from lower than your eye's perspective. Focusing can be disorienting since there is only one mirror...everything seems upside-down and backward, but it makes you think about your frame and how to be precise with your shooting.
What was your favorite place you visited and why?
My favorite place I visited this year was probably either South Korea or Prague. It was really fun to take photos in South Korea -- but I had a hard time shooting as everything there was really new and exciting to my naked eye. I find I can take better photos when I get to know a place, as I force myself to look at things differently. Prague was an incredible place to shoot -- I especially loved the way the Lomo Purple images came out from my trip there! The buildings and streets are so fun to wander through and to envision photographs makes them that much more intriguing.
Any advice for Lubitel users, or people who want to even just give TLR's a test drive?
I would definitely advise taking your time when you're shooting with the Lubitel or a TLR. Get to know the camera, get to know your subject, and don't be afraid to experiment! Make sure to get high-quality scans, because you can get a lot of beautiful details from the larger film format. And enjoy the process!