We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Pusateri and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“Do it right the first time.” is the first quote I remember resonating with me. I was pretty young and beginning to notice affirmations as this was the mid 1990s when tees with the words “Throw like a girl!” emblazoned with flames were all the rage. So anyway, young me sees “Do it right the first time” printed on a travel case for bandaids (some corporate-branded promo swag that my dad brought home from work) and I was perplexed. I understood the words but not the context. I remember my dad, who has long since passed, explaining the message to be; pay attention, study, practice — to avoid preventable mistakes. This is something I’ve carried with me since then. I’ve always understood it to be about the importance of preparation — that with preparation and intention you can nail it the first time. To me this means not half-assing it; it means giving it my all and bringing my A-game. I live by that when it comes to my work and I owe it to my clients, my team, and my future self to give it my all.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I got to where I am today from understanding that I’ve chosen a non-traditional career path in choosing to pursue photography commercially. I remind myself that markers of success look different because there isn’t a formulaic path with this career. It’s a marathon not a race. It’s as much about relationships as it is about being a great photographer. And like anything you get out what you put in — so I’ve always been driven by my professional goals to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To stay curious and keep getting better. It surely hasn’t been easy but if I’m still learning, I’m growing, then I’m still on the right track. I can’t imagine myself being in another career path. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do and I consider myself very lucky to be creating imagery for a living.
I’m also driven to keep going because I’m so proud of the environment we’ve created in my studio and I don’t want to see that go away. We have a very “come-as-you-are” vibe to our studio and I want people to feel like they can be themselves around me. Working with a team and delivering on our shared vision is what I live for so when we get to combine the success of a job well done with a team who feels comfortable and included in the end result, it’s a dream. It’s so refreshing and affirming to the work we do.
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 studio is in the West Bottoms neighborhood and I enjoy being in this area for the variety of things you can see, do, eat, and drink. Honestly, you could spend an entire weekend in the West Bottoms between the antique stores, boutique shops (Hi, Fetch!), restaurants, bars, and pop-up events for local makers and creatives. We always seem to find ourselves at Lucky Boys after a night out, for fried eats, but also for the dive bar vibes. We have a few favorite coffee spots that we rely on for fuel like Cafe Ca Phe, Blip Roasters, and Hi-Tides Coffee. Outside of the West Bottoms, I love our local ice cream shop, Betty Rae’s. I would recommend anyone go to PotPie in Westport and sit at the bar – one of the best places in town.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My two work besties, Grace and Nat, co-creators of our personal project A Real Nice Lady, are definitely deserving of shout-outs. We found each other as creative freelancers a few years ago and since, we have supported and encouraged each other through highs and lows. We launched A Real Nice Lady in early 2020 as a way to recognize women in our city who are encouraging, supportive, and true helpers. We feel it’s a good way to bring to light the women we have in the world who are contributing to so many other success stories without asking for too much in return. Having that personal project to work on together has allowed us all to learn and grow and it’s an added bonus that we just plain love working together.
Other: You can check out our personal project at arealnicelady.com.