Dutch beauty Laura Kampman broke onto the fashion scene in Balenciaga’s spring 2012 ad campaign. A slew of editorials in magazines from ELLE to W and a cover of Italian Vogue lensed by superstar photographer Steven Meisel followed.
After a short hiatus, Laura reemerged on the fashion scene with a new focus, signing with The Lions. I recently caught up with her to discuss modeling and her photography.
Tell us how you got started in fashion.
I was fourteen when a woman walked up to me in a restaurant and said I should be a model. Aside from taking artistic self-portraits I never thought about modeling. After finishing high school I gave it a serious try as it has always been my dream to travel the world and meet people. Within two weeks I had my catwalk debut in New York. That’s the beginning of the fairytale.
You’re a model, photographer and a writer. How would you define yourself?
I wouldn’t know how to describe myself other than just Laura, a living human being on planet earth. I try to do as many things that warm my heart.
What is it about the medium of photography that you connect with?
I always struggle to find an answer for that. Photography feels like a body part, like my kidneys or something. It’s just here and I don’t know why. It feels unnatural not doing it. I’ve been doing it since I was very young.
How do you think being in front of the camera as a model has helped you as a photographer?
I’ve worked with so many different photographers from professional to beginners, digital to film. By experiencing all these differences, I was able to discover what I like. I’ve learned lots of stuff about lighting and how to approach people in front of your camera to be able to capture them in a certain way. Before I started modeling I was planning on going to art school, but this has been the best photography class I could ever be exposed to.
How would you define your aesthetic?
It’s very personal and somewhat dream like. Introspective and raw. It’s the fragile things that touch me deep inside. Little seconds that turn into memories you’ll never forget. A stranger, smiling at me without telling me the reason. I like mystery, creating something that makes everyone feel something different.
What inspires you?
Anything that touches me. Not necessary beauty but pureness. Purity is beauty to me. It could be a view, the eyes of an old man shining like little stars, the freckles on the skin of a young girl, a person I had an amazing conversation with, the composition of garbage, the people I love, minds I find interesting. I could go on forever.
Who has been the biggest influence on you?
It hasn’t been one person, but a mix of different people and places in my life. If I had to choose two it would be Paolo Roversi and my boyfriend. I shot my first editorial ever with Paolo when I was sixteen and we spent an hour talking about photography and showing each other pictures. Ever since then I visit him once in a while and always leave the studio with a ton of magical inspiration.
My boyfriend is a painter and photographer too. He gave me my favorite camera and taught me a lot about film. We’ve done many exciting projects that we hope to publish in the right place one day.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I don’t have an answer for that. I take life day by day. I try to live every day in love and awareness. So many inner changes will happen in 10 years. Maybe by then I will be living somewhere on a mountain with my own chocolate cookie bakery and eating all the cookies myself. There’s a big chance that will happen.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
My big secret dream is to perform one day, singing and playing in a band. Whenever I close my eyes I see myself standing on a stage, singing my song while the crowd sings with me. The sun is just going down and makes the whole sky look like a rainbow. One day.