“My style of photography is honest and relaxed,” says London-based Laura McCluskey, whose photography work flits between portrait, fashion and social documentary. With an aim to create joyful imagery that “shows personality and warmth”, Laura has a wide-spanning portfolio that dabbles between personal projects and commissions from brands such as Nike, Asos, Converse, Sneakersnstuff, as well as publications including Twin magazine, Pylot magazine, Teethmagazine and more.
Having shot the portraits of brothers Gaika & Kibwe Tavares for Printed Pages in 2017, which was the same year we featured her work capturing London’s youth, Laura has continued to build on her practice. Last year, for example, the photographer travelled to Los Angeles, California, during which she stayed for a month to work on a personal series and a short film – soon to be published in the form of a book. When touching base back in her home turf of London, she says how it’s been “fun” working with her team, “taking on new challenges and continuing this journey”.
What’s most captivating about Laura’s work is her ability to turn the lens to those around her with utmost sincerity. “When I am telling a story I want it to feel real and down to earth,” she tells It’s Nice That. “I am most inspired by the every day; I have always enjoyed photographing people around me, and sometimes I will be walking down the street and see an interesting face, a hairstyle, nice light – I want to photograph it.”
Candid and instantaneous, a running theme throughout her work is the ability to capture real life as it happens. Although, while continuing to explain her process, Laura admits that she hasn’t always been so confident when approaching her subjects: “I have learnt to go with my gut and ask to photograph the person,” she says. “I would say I’m a people’s person and I get a lot of enjoyment out of this, and I’ve also found that most people like having their photograph taken.”
A lot of the time, her friends are her subject – where each comes into the frame with compassion and style. Laura explains how her most recent series Lexy and Pinky came about: “Some of my friends run a monthly drag night and each time they make custom looks and personas. I asked to photograph my friends Alex and Leo, aka Lexy Texas and Pinky Bitz, at home getting ready for one of their events.” She adds: “This series is a celebration of creativity and community.”
For Lexy Texas, an ongoing project that evolved from a previous shoot, she notes how she plans to continue with it throughout the year. “There are so many different characters that Alex creates and I’m enjoying documenting the process.” She also recently photographed her friend Samuel after witnessing an image he posted on Instagram of an outfit he made. “He’d bought a wedding dress from a charity shop and customised it to wear to a party,” she says. The result? They went to the marshes to shoot some portraits, of course.