“… influence has no rules. I am influenced most when I am most inspired. Perhaps that’s why many photographers love to explore new places and meet new people. That freshness provides excitement.” – Laura Pannack
Award-winning London-based photographer, Laura Pannack, is renowned for her absorbing portraiture, which often depicts youthful subjects, and is characterized by remarkable patience and sensitivity as well as a powerful comprehension of light.
Despite the fact that her father worked as a photographer, Pannack was 20 before she picked up a camera and captured an image for the first time. This was during her foundation studies at London’s Central Saint Martins College of Arts, and it ignited a feeling she describes as: ‘like a drug’, leaving her in no doubt that photography was the career she was destined to pursue.
“I’ve been raised to do what I love and the moment I started photography I fell in love…” – LP
Influenced and inspired by the works of myriad artists and photographers, both past and present, from Diane Arbus’ striking and subversive portraiture and Man Ray’s surrealist renderings, to that of her contemporaries like Taryn Simon, Phillip Lorca diCorcia, and Joakim Eskilsden, Pannack, examines the often composite connection between the subject and photographer, driven by her deep fascination with people, “and the interaction, dynamic and psychology of the relationship”.
She shoots predominantly on film rather than digital, finding enjoyment in the act of using an analog camera, which she describes as “slower and more considered”, allowing her to “concentrate on the process rather than being distracted by the result”.
Although she asserts that her working methods differ slightly depending on the context, her approach is invariably an intuitive one, with any narratives forming organically from her instinctive shooting rather than from any preconceived ideas or agenda.
Sensitive yet forthright, Pannack’s arresting images display a profound percipience and candor, and palpably convey the distinct personality of each subject, who, whilst undoubtedly diverse, are predominately adolescents, whose youthful qualities she captures flawlessly and with remarkable grace.
“adolescence is a beautifully intense period that shapes us. That mix of identities and confusion. The strength of naievity and sense of invincibility and wonder inspires me. I like the honesty of young people, the lack of pretense, and most of all they are just great fun.”
It is conspicuous that this distinct combination of qualities underpins her own practice, thus exemplifying the potent reciprocity between photographer and subject that her work seeks to explore.
Collectively, her exceptionally compelling and beautiful works stand as a reminder of the medium’s unique power and potential, and concurrently as testament to her remarkable skill, artistry, and deep humanism.
All images © Laura Pannack