Amazing Asians in the Arts: Lauren Winn
Lauren Winn is a photographer based in NYC. Her work has appeared in major publications such as VULKAN Magazine and Harpers Bazaar, and her versatility allows her to work in fashion, advertising, and as an art director. Keep reading to find out more about what makes Lauren an Amazing Asian in the Arts!
Name: Lauren Winn
Heritage: 25% Japanese, 25% Korean, mixed European
Hometown: Fayetteville, NC
Current City: NYC
Current Project: Website overhauls for NYC based designers
What are some of your favorite credits/projects?
A faux 60’s editorial shot at the TWA Hotel for VULKAN Magazine. My team shot there opening weekend and were the first fashion crew to shoot at the venue
What are some interesting facts about yourself?
I am a straight edge, I learned to play violin listening to a punk band, and I am the daughter of two half-Asian parents.
Do you have any favorite moments in your career that you’d like to share?
My first freelancing job ever was beauty retouching for Harpers Bazaar print. As a self-taught retoucher, I was highly insecure that I was using destructive, gimmicky, or inferior editing techniques. My supervisor was a well known Creative Director in Chelsea who GRILLED me over the tools I used and asked me to explain every edit I did. When I was done he said, “I wanted to make sure you knew what you were doing, because you are using the very best tools you can use for each edit.”
Any advice for young people getting into the arts?
I think comparing yourself to others can be productive if you don’t internalize unhealthy expectations. It’s good to look around, make goals, and aim high.
When did you know you wanted to have a career in the arts?
I came into photography “very” late. I didn’t decide until I was twenty I wanted to do it. I remember at a party in high school, a friend who liked photography handed me a DSLR camera to take photos. I stared at it and had no idea how to handle it. That’s such a laughable memory now.
Did you have any interesting “odd jobs” you worked at between gigs to pay the bills?
None! I maintain a multidisciplinary study so I can work in photography from many approaches – fashion, advertising, on-figure, still life, retouching, art directing, etc.
Do you have any other “special skills?”
I’m weirdly good at mimicking voices when I sing, but you have to be in a car with me to hear it.
What have you found is the biggest challenge in your career?
My industry is highly saturated with influencers and dilettantes who market themselves as experts – basically, people who are more focused on putting their image forward as opposed to being hired for skill. I don’t have the personality to be an Account’s person, so it’s difficult to present yourself, feel you’ve maintained your integrity, and somehow speak loud enough to be heard over people who offer quantity over quality.
What skills did you find to be the most helpful in your career?
I’m committed to understanding what my clients want. The first day I’m on set, I ask questions like a five year old. Not because I can’t operate independently, but I respect that most people have preferences and appreciate having the dialogue to begin with. That, and I am *so* OCD.
What inspires you?
Cultural touchstones. LIFE Magazine, 20th century design movements (there are SO many!), pop music and how it reflects cultural developments. I love really genre’d aesthetics!
If you could name one point in time when everything changed for you, what was it?
Freelancing. I worked a corporate photography job for 1.5 years and always planned to split after 2 years. When you’re in the same environment, especially if it’s your first gig, everything you learn is through the lens of that one establishment, and it’s good to go elsewhere, see other methods, meet other people, and learn everything you can from them. Not just practices, but their cultural histories. I went from working in one office to different studios and crews every month. It’s the best decision I ever made.
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?
I don’t think anyone is ever prepared for how much of a dork I am.
To find out more about Lauren, please visit her at: