It was Lenara’s knack for wistful and otherworldly imagery that caught our attention – she captures beauty through skillful lighting and filtering, none of which seems excessive in the least. On the surface, Lenara Choudhury’s photography appears hyper-beautiful and extremely aware of stylistic detail, which is the point of great fashion and editorial work. But the undertone of her work makes us believe that she is also particularly sensitive to intensity as a by-product of the mood of a photograph. Perhaps this experimental energy fuelling much of her work can be attributed to her beginnings in the fashion industry.
In this interview, Lenara talks about how she got her start in fashion photography, her inspirations and explains why Paris is, perhaps, her ideal setting for a photo shoot.
HG: How did you get started in photography?
I’ve always owned a camera from a young age - nothing fancy, just normal point and shoots. I then went on to study film and photography at university but eventually, after over 2 years studying, I decided to leave and get myself into the real world to get some work experience. I’ve always loved studying but with photography I didn’t feel like I got enough practical experience at university so I took the big premature leap into the real world. This helped me gain confidence with myself and the camera through trial and error.
HG: Who are your photography idols?
I don’t really have any one particular photographer I idolise but a few of my many favourites would be Ryan Mcginely and Corrinne Day.
HG: One odd thing you love?
HG: Musicians, artists, authors that inspire you
I like listening to Yann Tiersson when I’m working and I love reading Haruki Murakmi books when I need to escape from the real world and all responsibilities. I also like David Shrigley’s work because it makes me laugh. But I must add, my closest friends and family (as cliche/cheesy as it sounds) are my biggest inspirations - they are all my little weirdos who have always supported my work from the beginning.
HG: Dream photo shoot? (model, stylist, location, equipment; don’t spare any details)
I’d love to shoot in Paris - I love the vibes, the beautiful architecture, and it’s full of tiny little gems you never knew existed. I’ll keep those all secret until I get to shoot there again so keep your eyes peeled.
HG: Soundtrack to your life/top 5 most played tracks on your phone right this moment?
Sorry, this is not a “cool” playlist but these are my Top 5 songs currently on my spotify in order;
1- Interpol - blue supreme
2 - the loving spoonfuls - day dream
3- weezer - buddy holly
4 - real estate - talking backwards
5- Britney Spears - crazy
HG: What is your favourite picture you’ve ever taken and why?
I don’t have one favourite photo, I’m afraid it’s really hard to choose. I always have favourites of the moment so currently it’s an unpublished series of images with just hands. Sounds a bit odd but it isn’t. I just like the way you can move your hands over someone’s face, body or objects and still look quite elegant. I’ll show you one day. I’m rambling on so I’m going to stop now.
HG: How does your city affect your art?
Everything about London inspires me. I have a love-hate relationship with this city but it has a big impact on me visually and is part of what I create.
HG: If you could choose only one place to live for the rest of your life and only shoot in and around it, which city would you pick?
PARIS, PARIS, PARIS - need I say more?
I’ve been to Paris a lot and every time, I fall in love with it a little bit more. It’s just so inspiring - the history, people, wine and lifestyle. I will definitely be running back there for another Parisian fling with my camera.
HG: Three things you absolutely need at a shoot to be at your creative best?
HG: Analog over digital?
I like both but I shoot digital. I find film photography really interesting, the whole process of it so I normally shoot analog for more personally diary rather than work. And digital the same too but I can get more creative with digital without the fear of not getting the shot I needed.
HG: Breakthrough moment in your career?
Well, currently I’m organising my first ever solo exhibition for early next year which is pretty exciting, so I’m hoping that will be a breakthrough for me and my career.
HG: In what ways is your style of photography challenging?
It can be challenging trying to get everyone part of the team to see my vision and vice versa so to resolve this, I tend to just meet up with the teams and talk it all out until we have the same view on what we want the results to be.
Do you approach your personal projects the same way as your commissioned projects? what would say is the difference between the two?
I approach all work, personal or commissioned, the same--whole heartedly and passionately but the difference is pretty simple. Commissioned work has a few guidelines but normally it’s still quite free but not as free as personal projects where I tend to just improvise and that’s when I tend to get my best results.
Words: Rhea Baweja