Travel & adventure
An interview with photographer Laura Dean
We are obsessed with keeping ourselves inspired. Whether we're out exploring our surrounding woodlands, surfing whatever swell comes in on the south coast, or riding the local trails, adventure is always the common ground that ties it all together. So when we're not able to get out there ourselves, we'll keep a close eye on the ones who can.
This week we meet Laura Dean, a local photographer in love with all things outdoors. A growing passion for photography and the outdoors pushed her to try and turn this into a living, and today she travels the world pursuing that very dream.
First things first, who is Laura Dean?
I am a 28 year old freelance photographer from the South Coast of England. I shoot anything from weddings to lifestyle content and fashion bloggers. I am mad about the outdoors with a particular love for the mountains and the ocean.
When and how did your love for photography come about?
I actually started out at Uni studying Outdoor Education. From here I pursued a career in teaching sport and outdoor education in schools around the south coast. I always found myself taking photos along my journey and used it as an escape from a career I didn’t feel all that passionately about. I was always one of those hobbiests that didn’t really know much about the technical side of photography - just point and shoot. I live in Weymouth and used to shoot the sunsets down at the cove on a regular basis, I became known to some of my friends as the “sunset queen”.
On my 24th birthday, my parents bought me my first DSLR camera. This was an entry level camera, but to me, it was an open door of opportunity. My passion and drive grew stronger and I began to teach myself how to use my camera properly (not just on Auto) and quickly developed a good knowledge base and a shooting style. I would buy books, read blogs and study my camera. I taught myself how to use Lightroom and from there developed the skills that are not only my passion, but also my job.
Favourite things to shoot? And favourite camera to shoot on?
My favourite thing to shoot is definitely people. I love capturing moments that have meaning and depth and feel people really bring a photo to life. Whether it be a landscape with a subject in it or a surfer tearing across the front of a wave - people are people and they are awesome.
I am currently shooting on a full frame, Canon 6D mk I. It is beautiful and a great step up from my entry level camera I was using before. I have also just started getting back into shooting on my dad’s old 35mm film camera. He travelled the states back in 1978 with this camera and took some incredible photos of Yosemite, I kind of like the idea of continuing the camera’s journey with a new eye.
Who inspires you? (In the photography industry or elsewhere!)
Chris Burkard has to be my biggest inspiration in the photography world. I remember my brother bought my dad one of his books for our coffee table for Christmas a few years back. I sat looking through it for hours thinking - that would be my dream job. The way he tells a story and captures moments is breath-taking.
I used to think that secluded white sand beach's only existed in the tropics. Reserved only for those privileged enough to visit. Truth is - natures beauty is out there for anyone willing to suffer for it. These beaches were used to launch boats by fisherman for over 100 years. At one point these incredibly resource rich islands held some of the poorest communities in Norway.
Your IG feed shows mountains, beaches and everything in between. Where are some of the places you visited this year?
I spent the first half of the year living in Chamonix in the French Alps. I’m a skier so this was the perfect place for me to get out in the mountains to ski and to shoot. It is such an epic place, the landscape is insane.
From there I went to Madeira Island (off the coast of Morocco) for a photography trip. I didn’t know much about this place before we went - It absolutely blew me away. Like a mini Hawaii in the Atlantic Ocean. Then I shot over to Italy to shoot a wedding on the Amalfi Coast, driving through Naples solo however, not ideal.
After that I escaped the busy wedding season and took a 5 week road trip around France. Starting on the South West Coast surfing, driving through the Pyrenees over to the Med, exploring the Calanques before heading up into the Alps via the Verdon Gorge. We spent 10 days in the Alps skating and hiking before driving back to the UK. It was an incredible trip from surfing to the mountains.
Where do you call home?
I currently live in Weymouth, Dorset. Home of the Jurassic Coast - how lucky am I! People travel from all over the world to come and shoot Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove and it’s right on my doorstep.
Van life – yay or nay?
MASSIVE YAY, van life is the dream. My partner and I have big dreams to one day convert a long wheel based sprinter into the ultimate adventure wagon.
I’m a skier, this is my main hobby. This winter is filled with exciting snow adventures including a trip to the states in March for 5 weeks so I’m stoked for the up and coming season. In the summer I like to get out on the water and surf when I can.
What does adventure mean to you?
Having no set plans, just heading somewhere and seeing where it takes you. I’m not one for structure, I would much rather set off on a road trip or hike with no real end in mind. Just see where the journey takes you. The idea of it being unknown is my idea of an adventure.
If you could fly off to any place in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
Man, my bucket list is longggggg. But the top of it, I’d probably head to Norway. I’d love to see the Northern Lights, skate the road in Lofoten, climb incredible mountains, ski in Fonna, and just enjoy being outside. I’d grab a van, some hiking boots, a good warm jacket and go and get lost in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
What’s the dream? Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I’d love to be shooting more lifestyle stuff and creating content for brands. In 5 years’ time, I’d like to have travelled to more countries, met more inspiring people and grown my little business to be known outside of the UK. That would be awesome.
Do yourself a favour, follow Laura on Instagram at @laura.dean.photography.
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