Laura McCluskey In Focus

04.03.2016 | Culture , Fashion | BY:

Kent-born photographer Laura McCluskey, 29, has been living and working in and around Hackney for the past seven years, enjoying playing with the “feeling of creative freedom it brings.” Her work – which she describes as “honest and relaxed” – is a mixture of conceptual fashion imagery, documentary and pared-back freshness, with a focus on character and personality as opposed to a highly stylised ‘set’.

“I walk a lot and find the clash of cultures inspiring,” she says. “As a visual person, I think it helps to really engage in my surroundings and often ideas are sparked by people and scenarios I see on the street or stories I hear on the bus. I often do street castings for different projects and enjoy shooting portraits of people I find interesting. I enjoy the sense of community, the busy feeling often ignites my imagination.”

Here we asked Laura to chronicle some of her favourite projects to date, and explain how and why they came about.

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Bronte

I photographed Bronte at Next models for a story for Pylot magazine. I found a pop­up restaurant with an Abigail’s Party ’70s themed event, I contacted set designer Alice Hodge who had created the scene. I was working with my stylist friend Issie Gibbons on this and we shot the story within part of the set and surrounding rooms within the community centre it was being held. I loved shooting this story as I am a big fan of finding beauty within the everyday and the location really worked well. Bronte had a really great energy and a real timeless feel that worked so nicely for this story.

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Meilyr Jones

I recently shot musician Meilyr Jones. We met at the V&A and took some photos inside on the marble steps. The light was really great that day and we chatted and took some photos. I like these portraits because they feel quite peaceful.

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Dreamy Days

A few years ago I was shooting a series of new faces for The Ones 2 Watch. Harry and Leomie were outside in the hallway and I found out they were a couple at the time. We shot some simple portraits of them together and it just worked.

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Liam Hodges

I’ve worked with menswear designer Liam Hodges for a couple of seasons. Most recently for his AW15 campaign for his collection ‘Totally Safe Classics’ which explored the everyday reimagined, taking inspiration from the market stall traders in Walthamstow near Liam’s studio. I did a street casting for this and found Jyrrel in Shoreditch. We worked with stylist Harry Lambert and built a set within the studio with tarps and sandwich boards from the show.

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Forever my Dreamland: ­Troy and Chaos

I’ve been shooting a series ‘Forever my Dreamland’ since 2009 in the places I grew up around Kent. I was in Margate shooting some stuff and was just heading back to the train when I walked past this guy and stopped to asked to shoot his portrait. He was walking his dog and just had a really happy face. I found out he was called Troy and his dog was called Chaos. Pretty amazing names. They had such a great connection between them and as I started shooting the dog jumped up for his portrait.

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Teeth magazine: ­Nothing Fits

This story was a collaboration with my stylist friend Helen McGuckin. We’ve worked together on a few projects and we wanted to shoot a story that explored androgyny, shape and form. I think the starting point for this series was seeing Dilara Findikoglu’s graduate collection, we loved the carpet look. We shot Aggy at Next, she really brought a great spirit to the shoot and definitely conveyed the right feeling.

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My favourite picture in the whole world

So many artists inspire me, but if I had to pick one of my photographs, then it’d be from from a series I have been working on for the past few years: My sister Grace. I started out taking some photos whenever I visited my mum and youngest sister Grace at home in Kent. After a while I kept looking at my contact sheets and could see her changing and growing up and the series just came together. I took some portraits of her last year on her 13th birthday. This is one of my most favourite and treasured photos, it says so much about her personality and of growing up.

See more of Laura’s work at lauramccluskey.com

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