self portrait, Laurence Boswell
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We recently had the privilege of chatting with photographer, Gather Academy instructor, and human extraordinaire, Laurence Boswell. We’re excited to be able to share part of our conversation with you here. Laurence’s workshop, Finding Your Voice and Learning to Use It, begins January 27, 2020, and is now open for registration.
GA: Can you tell us more about the person behind Only Human Photography?
LB: My name is Laurence Boswell and I live in Utah. I love photography, but I love doing other things as well – such as rock climbing, swimming, painting, dancing, and roller skating. I moved around quite a bit growing up, so I seem to have friends all over the United States. Some of my favorite childhood memories are going to the beach and Disneyland. I speak English and Spanish, but my Spanish is pretty rusty. I graduated with a bachelor’s in Psychology, and love learning about people. How we function. Why we do what we do. Social interaction/influences, you name it. My biggest passion though is learning that all of us, regardless of race, color, sexuality, etc., are more alike than we think.
GA: Can you tell us a bit about your photographic journey?
LB: Visual arts have always been a fascination to me. I started using my Dad’s Nikon camera when I was about 17 or 18. I remember wanting to get into photography, I just didn’t have the money to buy all the equipment. My dad’s camera wasn’t the best, but it did allow me to learn the basics, such as shutter speed, ISO and aperture. I also learned the importance of light. I would practice often, taking photos of friends or objects outside. A few years later, I ended up buying my very first DSLR camera. I remember being so excited about it, and again, using it all the time to capture images of friends and family. I started to take engagement and graduation photos for friends in college. After I graduated, and moved, I started getting into compositing. I wanted to utilize my creative energy in Photoshop. I also noticed that the composites I wanted to create were more of a reflection of what I was feeling or going through at the time. Photography quickly became therapeutic, a space where I could let my guard down, be myself, and express my emotions. Photography has given me the ability to connect to others and myself. It has become a powerful tool that I enjoy using and sharing with others.
GA: Which photographers inspire you and your work?
LB: Brooke Shaden, Mati Gelman, Kristina Kashtanova, Joel Robinson, Robert Cornelius, Jonathan Chapman, Alex Stoddard, and Javier Alejandro.
GA: You use self-portraiture as a way of storytelling. Why self-portraiture? Has it been the experience you expected or have there been some surprising discoveries?
LB: That’s a good question. Self-portraiture has become a way to express myself and what I’m going through. My images and messages come off stronger when they’re linked to something personal. In addition, using self-portraiture helps people relate to what I’m going through. It’s like saying, “hey, I’m willing to be open and vulnerable about myself so that you, whoever you are, might be able to relate in some way and not feel so alone in this world.”
GA: Do you have any advice for people starting out on their own photographic journeys?
LB: No matter what photographic journey you are on, find something you are passionate about and share it with the world. You have the ability to influence those around you with your creative mind.
GA: In January, you will be teaching a workshop titled Finding Your Voice and Learning to Use It. What can you tell us about the course?
LB: This course is going to be jam packed with material, combining my psychology background with my photographic knowledge in order to give you a well-rounded course on finding yourself through the art of photography. You will learn the importance of light and shadow, color, and composition. You will also learn a range of editing skills, from basic touch-up to advanced compositing. As the class advances, you will also understand the importance of emotion, body language, and having a voice in order to adequately express yourself and connect with your desired audience.
GA: Other than this compelling workshop, do you have anything special in the works? Any big plans for 2020?
LB: I do! I’m actually going to be working on another self-portraiture series. This series will probably be my most vulnerable yet. I’m really putting myself out there with this particular series in hopes to connect with others and help those who have been in a similar situation.