Lauren Tepfer: Growing UP

You may know Lauren Tepfer for her stunning photography, her directorial work on the music video of “Ghosts in the Backseat,” or even for her contributions on countless teen publications, from Rookie to Adolescent Content. This fall, Lauren will be attending Parsons, The School of Design, where many before her have started their rise to success. What makes Lauren different in the creative scene is just how much of a star she is at a mere seventeen years old. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to talk to Lauren regarding her journey, the creative process, and growing up. 

Lithium: I know that you were accepted to The New School, Parsons School of Design recently-- congratulations! What made Parsons your dream school?
Lauren: Thank you so much! I was very much drawn to the atmosphere of the school. I love their first-year curriculum and their photo program. I also really love New York and couldn’t imagine living anywhere post-high school!

Lithium: What's the most exciting aspect of going away for school? What are you the most afraid of?
Lauren: I am most excited to learn. As obvious as that is, I am so ready to collaborate with other artists and learn more about the technical aspects of photography. I have never really had any formal training in the work that I am doing and I can’t wait to finally have direction in what I am doing!

Lithium: The New School has one of the best art programs in the country. What are you anticipating most?
Lauren: I’m really excited to be surrounded by really talented, accomplished artists. It’s going to be incredible having these people around me constantly inspiring me. 

Lithium: Brag a little! We're super proud of your accomplishments! What do you think made Parsons decide that you're the one for them?
Lauren: I hate talking about myself but I guess that’s what interviews are for! I think I was a good candidate for the Parsons BFA photo program because of my resume and my vision. I am very driven and really know what I want. I also have a really distinct artistic voice!

Lithium: What part of your portfolio are you most proud of? 
Lauren: My self-portraits. I am never, ever in front of the camera, and taking self-portraits (that I actually was proud of) was a moment of liberation and pride for me. Self-portraits are also really hard to take and require a lot of manual work during the shooting process [and it's] fun to look back and be like, “Wow, I did that!”

Lithium: Tell me a little about yourself. What kind of person are you?
Lauren: I am very honest, genuine, and intuitive! I also am very creative (haha) and a really big observer. I love reading, writing, singing, directing, and shooting. 

Lithium: Where do you feel most inspired?
Lauren: I feel most inspired when I’m by myself in my hometown. The atmosphere is so haunting (in the best way) and I always make the best work when I’m home and alone.

Lithium: If you could go back in time and capture any moment, what would it be?
Lauren: This is a hard question! I would love to go back in time and shoot with Prince. It’s not really a specific time or moment, but I love Prince and his music so much. I think it would be so cool to collaborate with him on something. 

Lithium: Metaphorically speaking, what do you think symbolizes you the most?Lauren: Wow, this is tough! I think the concepts of suburbia and home symbolize me best. A lot of my work has been defined by my suburban roots and that’s all my fault. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way things have worked out so far. I’m very connected to my adolescence and where I’ve grown up. I actually just got a little house tattoo on my ankle to immortalize my suburban influences! 

Lithium: What's a message you would want to spread to everyone?
Lauren: I think a message I would want to spread to everyone is that it’s okay to be different. I literally just groaned as I typed that response, but I really mean it. As cliche and dumb as it sounds, I really hope that young people know how special it is to have a passion and to be interested in something that is not what the mold wants you to be. It’s so important to stay true to who you are and be yourself, in any circumstance. That is what reaches people the most: honesty. 

Interview by Wen Hsiao

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