Interview of Lauren O'Neil by Allison Daroie.
Lauren O'Neil is the talent behind many of the photos you see on our site and beyond. She's young, quirky and has a brilliant eye for both photography and design. She's a street and fashion photographer with the skill to make trash into art... quite literally. Amongst the gorgeous scenes of her street fashion photography you might find shots of dumpsters and the often overlooked pieces of structures and life in an urban environment. She has a skill level far beyond her years and will certainly be a force in street style photography. She's already on her way. It's about time I highlight this young lady and the beautiful things she brings to life. I am so grateful to have her involved with Paridaez... so without further ado...
AD: Please explain who you are and what you do.
LO: I’m 23 and I work full time as a graphic designer in Boston. On the side I work on various design and photography freelance projects with different businesses and individuals. I specialize in street style photography and started exploring it after creating, designing, and photographing a lifestyle brand for my college thesis.
AD: Where are you from originally?
LO: About 45 minutes out of Boston in Westford MA
AD: Where did your motivation to pursue your passion originate? What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome to get where you are today?
LO: I took a history of fashion design class in college and did a project on photographing street style. I was really interested in how brands interacted with street style, how it came to be, and how different aspects of fashion throughout history influenced it. The biggest thing I was drawn to was how raw and natural it was. All different types of people are represented as how they truly are. It’s not contrived. It’s whatever type of fashion an individual wants it to be. I became very interested in lifestyle design, things like magazine/editorial spreads, look books, advertising campaigns. Whatever was combining photography with graphic design. So that brought me to my thesis, and then my freelance, and to working professionally. I’m really excited to be where I am in my career today.
AD: What is a typical day like for you?
The biggest obstacle was probably just figuring out my own personal artistic style and establishing myself, especially in a male dominated industry. I’m still doing that everyday and trying to build myself up, network, and prove myself. So many people are doing the same thing, so it’s like, what is so different about me? How am I any more impressive? That is an ongoing obstacle, and some days I have more clarity on myself as an artist than other days. What am I doing, why am I doing this, what inspires me, am I just going through the motions? It’s a common inner struggle to go through as a creative person. It’s both exciting and frustrating.
LO: I work 9 – 5, and then I like to get a work out in, whether it be going to the gym or going to the Nike workouts. Other days I meet with different people to talk about projects or work on freelance projects.
AD: Who's your favorite artist?
LO: Currently I admire the work ethic of Raf Simons, Ysana Perez, and Shantell Martin.
AD: What was your largest life lesson?
LO: It’s inevitable that you will screw up or something will go wrong, but you can’t stop doing what you like to do and feeling good about yourself. It’s important to not give the wrong people the satisfaction of you being upset. Just keep pushing forward. And I’ve always found it harder to give up then to keep moving forward.
AD: What’s your typical fitness routine?
LO: It varies depending on the day, but I’ll do an hour+ of legs, arms, or cardio (sometimes combining cardio with legs or arms), I do hour long classes of yoga, and then some high intensity training hour long classes.
(Bird of Paradise Tank in Plum Gray)
AD: What are your daily beauty rituals?
LO: I’ve never been one to do too much to myself. I enjoy my natural hair on its good days. I have freckles and I like my skin so I have a relatively simple makeup routine. I love Urban Decay products, I use their primer, Naked Palette, and eyeliner. I also love the company Hourglass for eyeliner and mascara. And then I swear by Anastasia Beverly Hills for their brow pencils. If I’m doing anything to my lips ill use Nars.
AD: What's a go to place in your area?
LO: I like to spend time with my friends at little bar down the street from my apartment called The Abbey.
AD: Who inspires you more than anyone else in this world?
LO: I don’t even think I can answer this. There are too many people I look up to artistically who inspire me.
AD: How do versatile pieces make your life easier?
LO: It makes my life less frustrating and it’s easier to function. I can move seamlessly from one activity to another and apply the garments to different social settings.
(Sofia is wearing the Albatross as a tank in this photo)