MEXTURES HIGHLIGHT: @EXPLAUR_EN

MEXTURES HIGHLIGHT: @EXPLAUR_EN

For pink and purple hues complemented by smooth fades we turn to the work of Lauren Branca (@explaur_en).  Scrolling through her work, you'll quickly discover that while each of her pieces are unique in their own right, there exists a solidarity between every image.  Each picture pours over into the next with fresh color and fresh grain while the general composition of her photos also works to set her feed apart.  We were so happy to be able to spend some time with Lauren and grateful to learn more about her as an individual and an artist.  Read along!

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My name is Lauren, and I currently live in 2 places. My work in the design industry has recently taken me to NYC, where I spend my week. Weekends are at my home in the woods of RI. The contrast is pretty amazing, and it’s reflected in my work.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?

It’s so cliche, but growing up is way overrated. It’s all you want when young, and all you want as you age is to keep your inner child alive and happy.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD?

I’m a lifelong vegetarian, and am really into cooking and food as another art form. Fresh organic anything is on my table.

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WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL?

That’s the easiest question ever, my cat Steve and mini dachshund Judy. No living creatures have a more enviable life, laying around all day, playing outside, and endless amounts of love.

WHAT TWO CELEBRITIES WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE YOUR PARENTS?

Celebrity parents, I would want a combination of inner beauty, fierce brains, and endless humor. Liev Schreiber and Lucille Ball.

WHAT'S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN'T LEARN FROM YOUR INSTAGRAM ALONE?

The most interesting thing about me you would never know from my IG feed, is that I’m a complete non color person. Any shade of grey and black and white are my choices for cars, home decor, clothing and everything else. Color in my work and editing has been a way for me to break out of my black and white self and experiment with color that isn’t a commitment.

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WHAT IS SOMETHING NEW YOU'VE LEARNED IN THE PAST WEEK?

Something I learned this week is that kindness, love, and compassion win every time. And you should remember that every day.

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY?

I come from a highly artistic, creative family, and have been surrounded by that art and design my whole life. My sister, who is my mentor in my career and my life, turned me on to IG and sharing photography. I’ve always had a camera and would take lots of pictures with that and my phone, but taking up photography as a hobby has been extremely enriching for me. Seeing life through the lens of my camera, exploring the world, and capturing those moments in time are priceless.

 HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?

Social media, especially Instagram, has been an amazing way to connect with other photographers, and get valuable feedback on my work. Let’s face it, we all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and sharing your vision with such a vast audience is pretty cool.

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IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU TRY TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH YOUR WORK?

I want the viewer to get lost in my images, even if only for a brief moment. I want to convey through my work the beauty I see through my lens, and the connection I feel with the earth, if it’s in nature, or the excitement of travel and the busy city. It’s all a part of my world, and sharing that is inspiring to me.

HOW DO YOU GENERALLY APPROACH YOUR EDITING PROCESS?

My editing process is pretty simple, meaning I don’t use many different techniques. I usually begin with Lightroom, which I like for many reasons as an editing tool. Once I like how the image looks, I will then occasionally use Snapseed if there is a blemish I see, as they have a great healing tool. Next comes the magic of Mextures. I have used Mextures to edit my photos since the time I discovered it. I love what I can do to an image, and the reason why is the endless possibilities. Depending on the shot, and how I envision it in my head, there are so many amazing ways to achieve my vision. I never get bored, because I can use the preset formulas or simply create my own. The level of creativity is infinite, and no two shots ever feel the same to me.

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WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO SHARE A FEW OF YOUR MEXTURES FORMULAS?

So here are 5 formulas that I love. I have lots more and actually love them all!

1. Boating - LRMXGAZ

2. Dusk - GSRQHQB

3. Dreaming - VNIKZWZ

4.Darklight - AHQDZVE

5.Paris - JKASEMS

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WHAT IS IT ABOUT MEXTURES THAT MAKES IT A VITAL PIECE OF YOUR EDITING PROCESS?

Where do I begin? I’m not sure I would want to spend the time editing if I didn’t use Mextures. It’s like a form of meditation to me and while I’m editing I’m lost in a quiet, creative place away from the craziness of my life.

I’m actually a big fan of the preset formulas, because they have been created by numerous artists and creatives and have little lives of their own. When time allows, I love creating formulas, and often will have 10+ layers created in each one. The movement of color, light leaks, textures, and subtle ways of enhancing a photo are endless. You can add lots of drama or little hints of color and texture, and no two images will ever be the same.

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CHOOSE A FEW OF YOUR FAVORITE PIECES THAT YOU'VE CREATED.  WHAT MAKES THESE PIECES STAND OUT TO YOU?

This was taken at the end of a long winter, signifying hope and the return of spring and rebirth. And I’m obsessed with reeds of grass.

This bird let me get sooooo close that you can see the web on the leaves. This was taken at one of the prettiest beaches in RI at sunset and I love the moody sky and hint of sunset. 

The feeling of the bird soaring through the gradient sky at sunrise is like magic to me, with the slight hint of the day beginning. 

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WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE?

My inspiration to create is to be in touch with the earth in an intimate way. It can be out in nature as many of my shots are, but the city has its own beauty as well. It’s a way for me to be completely myself, with no judge or jury, and complete freedom. I do what I love, for the art, and to capture a moment forever frozen in time.

IF YOU COULD STEAL CREDIT FOR ONE INSTAGRAM FEED, WHICH WOULD IT BE?

I’m completely in love with @thefuzzybong and the amazing feed he’s created. The sheer level of creativity blows me away, from the ideas and use of color, to the totally inspirational words that meld perfectly every time.  And more than anything else, he’s humble and kind.

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WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MOST INSPIRED YOU?

Wow this is the toughest question yet... and here is how I feel. I’m very inspired and really love many different genres of photography and editing. I’m more inspired by kindness, love, and the human spirit. The support for my work I’ve received from so many people, (they know who they are) has touched my heart and I’m extremely grateful to call them my friends. They are the true inspiration! I do have to mention the beautiful ladies I mod with, @boco_blondie and @joannakatd. We support each other always and have fun in the process.

Check out more of Lauren's work right here!