Lauren Apel is one of the many young talents coming out of Denton. She has an eye for quality and an impressive drive. We caught up with Lauren to find out what life for a young photographer in Denton looks like. Read the interview and then follow Lauren for what I am sure will be a promising photography career.
Tell us about yourself. What does life in Denton look like?
My name is Lauren Apel. I’m married to writer-musician-co-photographer-Mark Apel and we live in here in the great and wonderful Denton, Texas. We love it here. Denton has such a special culture. It feels like a small town, but it isn’t really all that small. And everyone you meet is an artist of some sort. There are so many musicians and designers and culinary artists—there’s always something going on. And when there isn’t, you can drive thirty minutes and be in Dallas or Forth Worth. We live in northern Denton. We both work in Denton—for UNT. I am a student at UNT as well. Mark leads worship at a new church in Corinth (Lake Sharon Community Church) and on the weekends we shoot weddings and portrait sessions.
What brought you to photography?
This is going to sound cliché, but I’ve always loved pictures. I always loved getting disposable cameras and taking them to summer camp or on trips or wherever. I remember being a thirteen year old and dressing my friends up and styling them and then posing them and taking their picture. And they were awful pictures. But I just loved it. I shot all the time. Five years ago a friend’s parents asked me to shoot their family portraits. It was my first paid job and I knew then that I loved it. It was the most wonderful thing.
Describe your style and what inspires you.
It is difficult to describe “my style.” I know what I like and what I don’t like. I like clean photographs if that makes any sense. I like them to look matte—like if you touched them. I also want them to look cohesive. If you scroll from the top page of my blog to the bottom, I want all of the images to have the same feel. I want the images to be consistent. In some ways, that is more important than anything else. Photography is like any other form of artistry—if you want to get better you practice and study. If you want to be a better writer, you write and you read. If you want to be a better photographer, you study the photographer’s work that you admire and identify what makes their images awesome. And you shoot everything.
How do you define a successful photograph?
A successful photograph is a hard thing to define. A successful photograph makes you feel something. Maybe it is as simple as feeling, “wow, that’s beautiful” or maybe it makes you tear up. A successful photograph makes you stop for a second to look at it. It makes you scroll slow.
What are the benefits and challenges of being a photographer in Denton?
One of the biggest benefits of being a photographer in Denton is the supportive community of photographers that already exists in Denton. There are a LOT of photographers in the DFW, as I am sure you can imagine. Every interaction I have had with any of them has been positive. I think that is important. When I’m unable to take on a job, I love having five names that I can send to that client and being able to know that the names I sent are awesome people.
If you could be invisible one day with your camera, where would you go?
This might sound really lame, but it would be really cool to shoot behind the scenes of the Oscars—the rehearsals and sound checks before the event, and all the chaos that happens backstage. Stars getting their makeup touched up. The tech crew. All the little stuff. The presenters. I bet it’d be a lot of fun.
What is your favorite thing about Denton?
I would say the community. We have so many wonderful friends here. Friends that design custom mid-century furniture, friends that create beautifully hand crafted stationary, friends that make music, refurbish, paint, write, bake, and grow. There are a lot of big servant hearts in Denton that want to work for the good of the city. There are a lot of churches in Denton that want to work for the betterment of the city. It’s really neat to see. We live in a great community.