Article Submitted to the Polaroid Originals Magazine by Stella Gelardi Malfilatre.
Texas-based photographer Rachel Lazatin used to draw portraits instead of shooting them. And when she started taking photographs, digital mediums gave her the opportunity to create fantastical worlds straight out of her imagination. But when she started shooting film, she discovered a whole new raw world. Now, she’s hooked. And her bright, candy-colored images are a testament to how far she’s come.
Tell us a bit about your story – where did you grow up and what was your favorite hobby growing up?
I consider myself as a wholehearted creative, and visual artist with a camera. I love to create in a lot of different art forms and I see my art as a way of emotional expression. I also use it as a creative outlet, whenever I’m shooting every stress and thought disappears and it’s like an escape into another world… a very colorful one too. As a kid my artistic eye started to develop through all kinds of silly things, like cartoons, comics, posters. I went through many phases where I didn’t know where my creative energy belonged. I wanted to draw children’s books, comics and dreamed of creating cartoons. I even made my own little comics all the time and sold them to my family! My creativity always had a tendency to explore different realms and I later had a strong passion for drawing and painting, I would always get frustrated because my 5-year-old hands could never draw the perfect muse, but it came with time. Silly me, I started drawing manga faces and portraits. I only strictly drew faces. Female faces in particular. Which reflects on my photography heavily seeing my work is mainly female empowered and portraits. My passions then shifted and expanded to photography through my early teens. I was always so baffled that through one photo I could create my own dimension. I practiced editing photos of surrealism. Edited pictures of my friends and I in make-believe places that only existed in the corners of my mind. Mainly colorful galaxies and candy lands.
So how did you realize you were into photography? And how did you then start exploring it?
When I first picked up a camera at the age of 13 I dove into photography and started. I took a break from photography throughout high school to pursue wrestling.. (yes wrestling!) but rediscovered it and began truly exploring at the end of my senior year. I didn’t take photography class; I would simply create and execute the vision in my mind. The human body and face were my muses. It wasn’t about all the technicalities; it was simply about creating a photo that evoked the same feelings that ran through my mind. For the sole purpose of creating art, and nothing else.
Which medium did you first work with? From looking at your work today t it seems fairly 50/50 in terms of working with film and digital?
I started shooting in strictly digital, and slowly started to find my style and mastering my craft. I’m still mastering my craft and exploring all the artistic kinks in my mind. I love digital because the opportunities with editing are nearly endless, you can create anything your mind wishes too (even a Candyland!) But I was in awe when I started to see film photography, and the intense raw feeling I got when I saw these photographs. I wanted my photo to carry the same nostalgic vibe. I bought myself a new camera recently; the Polaroid Sun 660, and I have not put it down since. Every photo 100% raw, carries a story. That’s what I love about film. Every photo is worth so much, figuratively and literally.
You mostly shoot in a very soft light with soft colors. Loads of your portraits feel like a film in the 1970s. Like a movie poster for a film. Is this an era you are particularly interested in?
I love exploring different vibes through my photos. My photos can be found pretty gritty, erotic, eccentric, classic, or cinematic. All my muses are usually females. I try to reveal the beauty and power us females carry through my portraits. You’ll see a soft yet ferocious girl who can’t be put down. I think it is important to remind people of the powerful female essence, for we are so often overlooked.
What is the most interesting project you worked on recently? And why was it exciting?
Recently I did a shoot for Institute Magazine. My work got published in their fashion section. It was interesting and exciting because I had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and create editorials with an amazing team, as an artist I think variety it very important. I showed myself I had a lot more diversity than I expected and I’m really proud of that. I love that classic cutting-edge editorial carries and soon I will be creating more editorials and hope to find strong passions within that style as I grow.
If you could take yourself and a Polaroid Camera with you to any city in the world where would it be?
This is so hard since there are so many beautiful places in the world. My number one choice would definitely be Paris. It is absolutely beautiful; the buildings themselves are art, which carries stories of the past. Such a nostalgic city of love and beauty. I long to go back to Paris and capture its unfathomable beauty. I went there once as a young girl but didn’t appreciate it enough I feel. I didn’t embrace or capture the beauty of the city and its people. There is so much art beauty and love the city has to offer and I want a second chance at that. I’m an adventurous person, with a love for new things. There’s a certain beauty in the unknown, and I love seeing everything the world has to offer!
What’s next for you? Is the dream to continue to work on your photography?
Currently, I am in college majoring in psychology, and relentlessly pursuing my passions. I know with time my aspirations will find a place in my life. I hope for more amazing opportunities and to capture all of the world’s beauty. My ultimate dream is to move to LA and base my photography career there. I feel like in L.A. a lot of creative people start to expand their creative abilities and blossom.
See more of Rachel’s Originals on IG: @rachel.latazin
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