We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Austin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, how do you think about risk?
Most people would say that it is a risk to take something you love doing and try to make a living from it. However, I was incredibly lucky to be brought up by two parents who turned their passions into successful careers. So for me, making up your own job never seemed risky, it simply appeared to be the path I was supposed to take. By my early twenties I had already worked in three very different fields… starting as a graphic designer at Quiksilver when I was 18, then to the Online Editor of Snowboarder Magazine at 20, and dropping everything to pursue freelance photography at 22… each move I jumped off a cliff to follow what I was most passionate about at the time. A quote that sticks with me is that you can’t have one foot on the dock and one foot on the boat and expect to go anywhere. Anything truly fulfilling tends to involve risk… it is up to the individual if they trust that the wind will catch them when they leap, or are too scared to jump. Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
That’s a very loaded question. What sets me apart? In the photography world it is probably my graphic design background. When I look through the viewfinder of my camera I see it as a page I am laying out, composition is king. I like a lot of negative space, and I try to set up my shots so that if you took out the model it would still be an interesting photos… so the background is very important to me. How did I overcome challenges? By putting my head down and just doing me. What have I learned? Confidence is key… even when you don’t know what you are doing. What do I want the world to know? For the most part, your limitations are those that you put on yourself, or those that you have let society or social norms force you to believe… once you can ignore those, opportunities are endless.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My answer to this depends on the interests of the person visiting. But I’ll pretend they are very open-minded, then I would bring them on a hike in Griffith Park, a bike ride along the LA River, sushi at Sugarfish, a drink and karaoke session at Drawing Room, a book hunt at The Last Bookstore, and a live music show at Zebulon. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Wow, there are so many people who have shaped my path… from my parents who let me go wherever the wind took me, to the teachers who pushed me to strive for more than I knew I was capable of, and authors like Eckhart Tolle and his book “The Power Of Now”. No matter how independent a person claims to be, they wouldn’t be where they are without the support and encouragement from others.