LAUREN FOWLER WAS A MEDICAL SCIENTIST WHEN THE UNEXPECTED ILLNESS OF A FEW CLOSE FAMILY MEMBERS LED HER TO DISCOVER A NEW LIFE OUTSIDE THE LAB.
She may be a busy working mother-of-four but Victorian photographer Lauren Fowler says it is cells not children that she has to thank for teaching her that patience is indisputably a virtue.
Aside from her impeccable attention to detail, Lauren says her former job as a medical scientist has given her a number of skills she has been able to apply to her photographic career – particularly in her post-production work.
“In my career as a scientist I was working in the field of cytology which involved a lot of microscope work. Sitting for up to eight hours a day at my desk screening slides – looking for abnormal cells – definitely prepared me for the hours sometimes needed for editing images,” she says.
The 38-year-old was drawn to photography in 2004 following the birth of her first child. While working her demanding day job, Lauren purchased her first DSLR, a Nikon D3000, and spent her spare hours using her camera to record special family moments. She has remained a loyal Nikon fan ever since.
In 2012, several years and many milestones later, Lauren was caught unaware when confronted with her own medical emergency. Her third child, then aged just three, was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes and her fourth was diagnosed anaphylactic at just seven months. It was then she made the decision to trade her life lived in a lab coat to one on the land.
“The stress of our new way of life led me back outdoors where we found ourselves feeling free and happy. It wasn’t long before capturing our memories outdoors turned into a landscape photography passion for me.”
A self-taught snapper, it didn’t take long for Lauren’s work to begin drawing attention. A spectacular sunrise shot taken in 2014 saw her win an Instagram competition and rewarded with a weekend getaway down the South Coast. The win also secured her first paid commission which involved photographing an old farm house on a private property with the owners wanting to capture its beauty before time caught up with it and it fell down.
In an attempt to get more of her work seen, she set up an informal social media account in 2013 and a website in 2015. Having steadily yet resolutely built up interest in her work, she has since amassed more than 15,000 followers.
Lauren, whose husband is a chef, says while she enjoys taking the odd food photo and has plans to build up her alimentary portfolio, it is her landscape work with which she most easily identifies.
Having grown up in a rural Victorian town with both sets of Grandparents coming from and living on farms, significant parts of her childhood were spent out in the open landscape of rural Victoria, she says.
“That’s where my love of windmills and the country has come from. I chose landscape photography because I love the Australian landscape, our country is so beautiful and diverse [and] being outdoors among nature is where I feel happiest. I live in a pretty part of Australia known as The Macedon Ranges and it’s so picturesque, there’s lots of opportunities for photos. I think we have the best sunsets and sunrises Australia has to offer.”
As with many of her contemporaries, Lauren argues shooting outdoors can be both a blessing and a curse with intermittent weather conditions proving a particular sticking point.
“It doesn’t matter how well prepared you are, sometimes Mother Nature can be very unpredictable and give you unfavourable shooting conditions. The unpredictability of Mother Nature can also be the most enjoyable, when the sky explodes with colour at the last minute just as you’re getting ready to pack up your gear. The surprise of not knowing what you’re going to capture is the best feeling when it all comes together,” she says.
Lauren cites Uluru as the most impressive and “most magical” location she has shot at to date and says she can’t wait to organise a visit back to the southern part of Australia’s Northern Territory. For now, though, the trip is on hold as 2018 is shaping up to be LM Fowler Photography’s biggest yet. She has several “confidential” projects, a number of commercial bookings and an annual calendar demanding her immediate attention. Not to mention, of course, a move to the States.
“I have some exciting projects happening this year, a couple I can’t talk about just yet [but] I’m planning on a move to the US in September this year. My youngest son will be receiving treatment at an allergy clinic in Utah, so I’m excited to get out and explore the area in and around Utah, Arizona, Nevada [and] California – I have a lot of locations over there on my landscape photography bucket list. I also have a new and updated website that will be launching soon, I will be doing my yearly calendar that I release at the end of each year, and plenty of food photography to keep me busy in the meantime.”
“Thanks to Instagram I’ve been given opportunities to pursue this field of photography even further and I am really enjoying it.”
What’s in Lauren’s bag:
- I have two camera bodies in my bag, the Nikon D810, and the Nikon D750.
- Contained in my lens kit is the NIKKOR AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, the NIKKOR AF-S 70-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 VR and the NIKKOR AF-S Micro 40mm 1:2.8G lenses.
- I always have these items in my bag, I’m never sure which lens I’ll prefer to use until I’m at my location, but find myself favouring the 24-120mm lens for the majority of my landscape shots.
[Words by Tracey Porter]