Sarah Lawrie Toronto, Canada
I express myself using black and white imagery, specifically often the light and shadows within them. I was initially inspired by the loss of my parents and then the birth of my children. Life essentially to me, is a series of light and shadows from beginning to end and I can safely discover and engage with my thoughts, hopes and fears on this level, both consciously and subconsciously.
Sarah Lawrie was chosen by photographer Nicola Davison Reed
Laatikkomo’s interview with Sarah Lawrie 11.05.2016
L: Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?
SL: I was born in Toronto, Canada and have lived here since. My father taught overseas when I was a child so we travelled and stayed for extended periods throughout Europe. I have travelled as well since then and photography is always a significant part of it. Those places and experiences have stayed with me and I imagine always will.
L: What is your earliest memory of photography?
SL: My first memory was when I was twelve years old. It was winter time and the gigantic pine tree that stood in my backyard was completely laden with snow after a particularly heavy snowfall. It was so beautiful and yet made me feel a little melancholic. I remember rushing inside to get my camera to capture it. It was the first time that I remember connecting emotion to photography. I still keep that photograph beside my desk.
L: On your website you write that you almost always photograph in black and white. What interests you about black and white film?
SL: I shoot exclusively digital now and yes nearly always in black and white. It feels natural to me and helps me to express the emotions I’m feeling or wish to convey at the time. Light and shadows are important to me as well as a more soulful approach. Perhaps it also comes down to that first black and white photo I took of the pine tree in my back garden.
L: Many of your photographs are of people or glimpses of the human form, but I wouldn’t call them portraits. In your opinion what makes a portrait?
SL: You are right, they are more conceptual and abstract. A portrait to me reveals something important about the subject usually through the eyes but not necessarily. A successful portrait will make the viewer curious about the person or the moment of connection.
L: Is beauty an important or integral part of photography?
SL: Beauty itself is subjective, so no not in that sense. Everything has the potential to become a successful photograph, as long as the elements come together, whether it’s ‘beautiful’ or not. There is beauty in discovery, beauty in realization, beauty in the moment. For me, emotion is what makes it beautiful.
L: It seems your relationship with photography comes from a very intimate place. Do you find it sometimes difficult to share your images with a general non-specific audience?
SL: Yes it does. In the past when I was just starting out maybe it was more challenging, but through the years I’ve grown and become comfortable with who I am and how I express myself. That’s the wonderful thing about photography, having the freedom to express without boundaries. If someone doesn’t connect with an image or an idea it’s okay, ambiguity is a part of how I present and even though quite often personal, everything is open to interpretation.
L: What is one of the most important questions that you ask yourself, or would like to inspire others to ask, through your photographs?
SL: Not so much a question but the realization that the subconscious can be a fascinating and revealing place with the possibility of creative discovery.
L: Could you list five or more words related to the work you are showing in Laatikkomo?
Thank you so much Sarah!!