The Photography Lounge

Laura Zalenga - A [Self-] Portrait-Artist

February 23, 2021 SmugMug + Flickr Season 1 Episode 10
Laura Zalenga - A [Self-] Portrait-Artist
The Photography Lounge
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The Photography Lounge
Laura Zalenga - A [Self-] Portrait-Artist
Feb 23, 2021 Season 1 Episode 10
SmugMug + Flickr

On this episode of The Photography Lounge, your host Alastair Jolly has a conversation with Flickr Pro, Laura Zalenga.

Laura is best known as a [self-] portrait-artist but not exclusively self-portraits! She is originally from Germany now living in Rotterdam. Her work is known for its clear visual language, the power of telling stories and visualizing emotions.

Together Alastair & Laura discuss her work exploring the thought process, the purpose, the healing power and other rewards of her creativity.

Learn more about Laura:

Find out all about the features SmugMug & Flickr have to offer at:

Follow SmugMug:

Follow Flickr:

Show Notes Transcript

On this episode of The Photography Lounge, your host Alastair Jolly has a conversation with Flickr Pro, Laura Zalenga.

Laura is best known as a [self-] portrait-artist but not exclusively self-portraits! She is originally from Germany now living in Rotterdam. Her work is known for its clear visual language, the power of telling stories and visualizing emotions.

Together Alastair & Laura discuss her work exploring the thought process, the purpose, the healing power and other rewards of her creativity.

Learn more about Laura:

Find out all about the features SmugMug & Flickr have to offer at:

Follow SmugMug:

Follow Flickr:

Alastair Jolly: Today's guest is best known as a self-portrait artist, but not exclusively, self-portraits! She's originally from Germany, now living in Rotterdam. Her work is known for its clear visual language, the power of telling stories and visualizing emotions. She gives talks about photography and the healing power of self-portraiture, teaches workshops and courses about concepting creativity, identifying locations in every surrounding and she's especially passionate about working on concepts and series that explore and address important global issues and social taboos today's guest is the wonderful Laura Zalenga.

Hi, Laura, how are you? 

Laura Zalenga: Hi, it's so nice to be here. Thank you for having me. 

Alastair Jolly: It's a pleasure. The pleasure is ours. I mentioned in the intro that we find you in Rotterdam is that correct?

Laura Zalenga: Yes, definitely. And it's a really beautiful, very not Dutch day because it's not raining, but instead we have snow and sun. It's really nice. 

Alastair Jolly: Beautiful combination. And originally from Germany, what part of Germany are you from?

Laura Zalenga: The very South actually. It is a little city located between Munich and Stuttgart. Kind of close to the Alps actually, and yeah, cozy little place so that I still very much like to come home to. 

Alastair Jolly: Beautiful, beautiful part of the world, especially I you can get in close to the Alps. I love it there. And do you speak Dutch? 

Laura Zalenga: "Speaks Dutch"

Alastair Jolly: Moi eh? That's my knowledge.

Laura Zalenga: But it's a good word. And I think it's such a cute language. I really, so many people are like, well, it's so hard. I bet, I guess, coming from Germany, it's really a cute, cute language.

And it has so many. Funny, funny words that sometimes the gray describe things way better than the English or German word that I know. I really like it 

Alastair Jolly: And what made you move to the Netherlands? 

Laura Zalenga: That was actually love. Like I met my partner there. I know I did have that. That's a lie.

I met him in friends at a big, Oh yeah at a conference and yeah. It's pretty awesome. And I thought I really liked the Netherlands anyway, so it was kind of a win-win situation and now I am in Rotterdam. 

Alastair Jolly: That's fantastic. So, let's talk a little bit about Laura's backstory. How long have you been photographing for?

Laura Zalenga: I started around 2008, so that's a crazy long time ago. Like two, I mean, I always say 10 years, but I feel like meanwhile, that starts to become a lie more than that. 

Alastair Jolly: Now I've been photographing for a decade. Oh no wait, but it's not quite enough. 

Laura Zalenga: Yeah. So, it's been a very long time actually that I let's like first pick up a camera, but I mean, everyone's a bit like starting with taking photos of flowers and cats, I guess.

So, I did that for a while and then got a bit more interested in it. Applied for photography schools with, from today's perspective, with a really not so good portfolio, I have to say with some really, really horrible editing, but yeah. Also didn't get accepted, but everyone in my surroundings said, you have to do something.

It can not wait a year, so you can apply again. So, I applied for architecture at three schools. They all immediately said yes, even though it's actually apparently kind of hard to get in, but I guess if you don't really want it, it's easy. And then I started Studying for being an architect in Munich or four years while that's the whole time was dreaming of being a photographer.

Alastair Jolly: It's funny. How many of us have that non-traditional path into photography? Yes, there's definitely the, you know, the wonderful photographers who knew that's where they wanted to be got into photography school and studied there, but there's definitely a lot of us took that non-traditional path. But I'm also curious that.

A lot of people that take that non-traditional path, take architecture or engineering, that kind of direction seems to be a real kind of connection between those kinds of subjects and photography for some reason. I'm not quite sure.

Laura Zalenga:  Yeah. I think it's like the amount of people I met who are actually were architects or studied architecture.

Is crazy surprising to me because I think I know about 10 people or something like that who we're really like close people. And I'm like, every time they told me there were architects or studying for it, I was like, how I thought I'm the only person who makes that step from that to that. But apparently there must be a connection even though.

Looking back at my studies. I don't see. Well, yeah, it's a visual thing. You're learning about colors and shapes and forms and stuff like that. But other than that, I don't really see so many obvious connections. So, it's pretty peculiar to me. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. And it must be same part of the brain seems side of the brain or something like that, that connects them.

But yeah, definitely things like form and rhythm and shape and textures, I guess that all can be seen. Yeah. Composition. Yeah. Leading lines, all that kind of thing. I guess that maybe there's more of a connection than we think so. Welcome to the architectural podcast. I described your work as self-portraiture, which, you know, in many, many years I've been following your work.

That is certainly what I've known you for, but you don't exclusively do self-portraiture. But if you were to describe your work to someone that hasn't seen your portfolio, how would you describe yourself? 

Laura Zalenga: I'm kind of, I want to make a test about if every photographer feels super uncomfortable with, with describing their own work, it's like.

I don't know. It's like so hard to look, can't look like objectively on and describing if your so deep into it that you're like, it's your normal surrounding? It's like, Oh, okay. But it's photos of humans. In nature, I would maybe mostly say, and I, to me, the common thread is that there is a deep connection between the humans and the nature.

That there's a try of. Yeah, most often I feel like the human being tries to be really get part maybe of nature and responding to shapes that are there. I think most easily I can describe my style by looking at other photographers who maybe have humans and nature and then think about what is different in mine to see what maybe might be my style.

I would say it's very often very reduced. I try not to have like too many things in my images. So, I guess the clear visuals are really something I try to find. So, there's viewed not find a complicated scene, like there's trees and rocks and a beach and some water and the person and a tree standing individually somewhere.

But rather I try to yeah. Maybe have just rocks and a person. I really like it to reduce it down very much. So, you can focus on the things that I show. I feel like. That maybe describes it well, and very often a person's kind of small. So, you don't really understand who that person is. It's more like an abstract metaphor for a human being.

That's like that. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. I apologize for making you describe your own work, but it is this hard, especially as creatives we hate to talk about our own work to a fault sometimes. Everything you said there is obviously I would recognize in your work very sometimes minimal. You don't kind of landscape nature portraiture.

So yeah, absolutely love that. I'm also very aware that a lot of your images are very spatial, these big vistas, although, they're simple and minimalistic in many ways. And as you mentioned, the, you know, the subject of the story is quite small and a lot of the images. 

Laura Zalenga: Yeah, and I really, I guess that's also just a nice feeling to have.

If we have a little person in a big landscape, it's just, it's something so nice. It gives you room for thoughts and for interpretations. And it's also, hopefully it gives a little bit of the idea of this crazy big place, this beautiful place. And there's this tiny human being in the middle. And I guess it's also a story that I like to tell that it is vulnerable very soon be vanishing human beings. In a bigger, beautiful surrounding that will like definitely longer. And we should be more aware of that, that we're just a tiny vulnerable visitor. And should also behave that way. I guess that's something that I really like too silently say with the images and I don't know how many people read that in it and not just think of it.

It's a beautiful scene, but yes, it's a bit of the story that I want to tell. 

Alastair Jolly: Also, a lot of the time, the subject matter, and the image is yourself. What made you start using yourself as the subject in your images and being a self-portrait artist? 

Laura Zalenga: I think at the beginning, it is something that a lot of people are testing because after you photograph the cats and the plants and the flowers around you, you're getting more interested in people being in the photos. And I guess in the, in the beginning, you don't really feel comfortable asking people if they want to be your model because you know, you're not that good yet. And is it worth their time? Do I ask them for, is it uncomfortable for both of us? I don't know. So, I think it's a very logical step to first try what it looks like with yourself into image.

And I feel like many people later develop into a different direction, but for me, it always. Kept like that genre because to me, and now you will have me talking an hour about self-portrait. Sure. So good. That's the point because I think there's like so many reasons, so many reasons why self portrait photographer is under rated maybe because I think in a, in a time of selfie and the negative image that it has, we can easily forget that a self-portrait is actually kind of something very different. It's something where you're almost meditatively with yourself and you allow yourself to take that time with yourself and you explore your voice. You explore your visuals; you explore your role in your work. And maybe even beyond that, you really. I don't know, dedicate the time that you allow yourself also to be in your work, not like saying I photograph someone else and put my idea on top of them and make them act out what I had in my head.

I'm just acting that out with myself directly. And I think that's a very honest and beautiful way to show something that you want to explore. And I also learned, well, I guess most of everything that I know about photography, I learned through the self-portraits, because you can do that at any time of the day.

Whenever you feel like taking photos, you can just do that. And that means you have a lot of opportunity, which is great, because that means you can practice it very often, which I think is still the key thing that you can do to get better at something. You of course also experiment way, way, way more than with any other person that you could potentially have in front of your lens, because you will never have to be embarrassed in front of yourself.

If you take a horrible photo where you did something weird or awkward for testing, if that could look cool, you can just delete the photo. No one will ever see it. And you do not have the chance to do that. If there was any other person present. And I also really, really think that it has with the meditative side, that it has, it has a chance to really like really completely not even looking at photography just gives you the time to find out more about yourself and really be with yourself in a way that heals you even.

So, I really, to me, and I know that from actually quite some other photographers who take self-portraits, it is a method of healing that you take self-portraits, and it's also just fun. I mean, it's really, really fun to just be in a different role and be able to do that just by yourself. I think it's such a wonderful, 

Alastair Jolly: I love your passion for it.

You mentioned there about it being healing and kind of meditative in that way. A lot of people, I think, look at self-portrait artists and maybe think, Oh, man, person's quite an extrovert to focus on themselves and be out there, posing in the world. I've come to learn it's quite the opposite. In many cases.

Would you describe yourself as an extrovert? 

Laura Zalenga: No. I mean, I often try to act like one, maybe like try to pretend I'm strong and self-confident in, because sometimes you have to, sometimes it's good if you do. But initially I'm definitely not. And I also think, because in very early times with the self-portraits, I often heard people saying that it is vain to take self-portraits and that people who really think they are beautiful or great or voice or to be in a photo takes off portraits. But I think in most cases it is actually the opposite is the case. I think someone who was already super in peace with themselves and thinks of themselves in a great way. They don't even need to take that photo of themselves.

They don't need to find that proof for himself. So I think it is often people who are struggling with who they are and  struggling with maybe even bigger things in general and try to find in that time with themselves and then showing themselves in the photos and exploring themselves, and maybe even being a bit of vulnerable, that that is a tool because you're not there yet. 

Alastair Jolly: Definitely a lot of interesting concepts. When you start looking into the world of self-portraiture, do you find that in some ways, some kind of escapism, you know, you're, you know, you're not an extrovert you're quite introverted and there's there a form of escapism to do things that you don't feel comfortable doing amongst, you know, society.

Hmm. 

Laura Zalenga: That's interesting. I did think about it in that way, I think, but now did you say it, it kind of makes sense that I also. It's just it's because at least for me, I mean, I will go out into nature with just me and my camera and then it's me being there alone. And it's a really beautiful kind of freedom.

Yeah. Also allowing yourself to just spend all that time with yourself and not even needing someone else as a company. It's really something that is super beautiful. And of course, also the fact that you can. Explore your version of not trying to look like an extrovert and also showing that introvert in the images, I think is something that is nice to do and also nice to practice for the real life, 

Alastair Jolly: But also escape those pressures of the day-to-day and, you know, the things that we worry about on a daily basis and just be out there in your case, in nature, and some incredible parts of the world, just yourself and a camera.

It seems very freeing in many ways. 

Laura Zalenga: Definitely. And so, I've really, really treasured to have that as a tool and then even call it your job. I mean, what?

Alastair Jolly: To maybe go down a slightly darker path. You, you have been open with me about, you know, struggles you've had that you touched on there with, with mental health and depression and stuff.

And you, you said that you found again, the work that you've done in self-portrait, that would be this huge healing project in itself. 

Laura Zalenga: Yeah, absolutely and I think only looking back, I really understand that I did that while that time. I think it wasn't even conscious that I said on the worst days now I go and take self-portraits, it didn't happen like that.

It's more like maybe almost an urge to go and say, maybe it is also that escape that you just said that you're just fleeing, definitely fleeing from everything. And you go into this other world, but it came with all the benefits of definitely accepting yourself more because I think that was something I struggled crazy with, like visually, but also very, very much like internally and it, which is interesting because right in a photo you only see the visual, but I guess if you really put all those emotions, all those feelings that you have, maybe anger, worries, doubts fears in that photo, then they're also in there and you can also try to accept that feeling of yourself.

Because for me, it was often that I really put those emotions in the photo actually like almost as if you can give it a bit away from yourself and put it in the photo and then it is, yeah. Almost like within that photo. And the nicest thing about that is that you can go back to the image and it's not like the feeling is gone.

You can visit the feeling whenever you have the energy to do so. It's still there. You didn't complete the like deleted it, but you gave a part of it away and it makes, of course you yourself and daily life a bit lighter. It doesn't make sense, really funky, 

Alastair Jolly: Not only maybe locked it a way or discarded that a little bit, but, but also shared that with others.

And you know, when you share things, you you're diluting the impact of the pressure on yourself and those. Impacts it's having on yourself. So sharing that work I think is very important and a huge part of the healing process, not just the, the act of taking the photograph, conceptualizing it, creating that act but I think the sharing part of it is a huge step for many people and, you know, not just mental health, but just in their journey as a creative, the shooting part is just so, so important. 

Laura Zalenga: Yeah, definitely. I mean, especially in a world where we still live with mental health slowly, slowly, slowly being, not a taboo topic anymore, but someone like.

Standing there and saying, I suffer from depression. I still see that rarely. And also, for me, it was only possible to say that afterwards, when I was in a way better state, I was able to say, wow, I really was down this journey for the longest time of getting didn't even know that it was depression. I mean, for the longest time I was thinking I'm just wrong.

Something's completely wrong with me because I didn't even have a word for that because we don't talk about it so much in society. I mean, I didn't learn about that in school. So, you're. Or if you learn, if you learn that something insanely horrible has to happen to you for you to have that. And we do not teach people that it might be little things that are even invisible, that can like.

Make you like, like fall into a depression or like, I mean, it's a super diverse field. And what I really learned was that in the beginning, when I took the super early steps of communicating that were of course super scary and was like, do I really click post now and share this with the world? But the outcome was so rewarding.

I mean, the fact to share it, to talk about it in general. Especially as I was not talking to anyone in my real life. So, so sharing that was a crazy relief and it was awesome for me that I can put it into images where people would see it maybe, or feel it also from the image, not only from the words and I didn't need a lot of words, but I think the most beautiful part was that.

So, so, so many people from my community were saying, wow, I'm so thankful you're talking about this I feel so alone. And I don't know how to talk about it with anyone and the fact that I know that you went through this and maybe still go through this and talk, the fact that you can talk about it gives me hope and gives me like a feeling of being not alone and gives me the strength to also maybe share my journey.

And that was the biggest gift you could ever give back. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. I mean, a lot of us sometimes think, you know, depression, you know, that disease comes from some kind of big trauma in your life. There has to have been this, this moment where depression started and happened. And a lot of us look at our lives and think, you know, my life's pretty good and you know, it's pretty normal.

I'm successful. Why am I depressed? 

Laura Zalenga: I don't have to right. I think that was, for me, it was like, I don't have the right to have depression. I think that's a big, harmful thing. 

Alastair Jolly: No, it's true. But what I love is, you know, as creatives, I think a lot of us have had, you know, mental health issues and the creativity is one way of finding ourselves or finding a path out whether we know it or not at the time.

And, but what I love about the photo community is how, especially nowadays how open we are about how willing we are to share it, but how supportive we are. The community is incredibly supportive within the photography industry. And I love it so much.  How important was it early on in your career when you started taking photographs to find that community and how did you do that in who quickly did that happen?

Laura Zalenga: Yeah, that's like one of the biggest things ever, I think in my path, and that was definitely Flickr. I mean, that's also why I'm so excited that I'm here actually, 

Alastair Jolly: that wasn't meant to be a leading question, but great answer.

Laura Zalenga: Exactly. That's what I thought that you didn't even think that it would lead to that.

But I think that is so beautiful to me that that was my beginnings and I was lucky that I didn't just do my photography for a long time, just on my own before finding a community. Yeah. Because I think the year I started taking photos was also the year I first uploaded something to Flickr, which was 

Alastair Jolly: 2008. I did check. 

Laura Zalenga: Yeah. See that it, that was the year I started taking photos. I think it was not like maybe for half a year or something. I was taking the cats and flowers stuff, but then when I started taking photos of. Myself, I was uploading them to Flickr, and it was so beautiful because I found other people who also took self-portraits.

And I was like, it's okay. There’re other people who do that in a, in an artistic way. They really want to express something with it. And that was really such a big step for me to see that for me, the beginning was mostly Rosie Hardy and Kaylee Garrett, who were both taking self-portraits and like very different ways, actually like very different ways and both also being successful with them.

And both yeah. Using that and really kind of making it, their genre that before that I was just thinking I'm maybe a bit strange, or maybe I am vain for taking self-portraits. And that really gave me the validation to say, I can explore this genre and I can really dive into this and it's valid. And from there, I mean, finding so many people who are still, who I'm still friends with today, I mean, I don't, this is like so crazy to me because it really became.

A family and there's still like, I mean, also I think many of them were also on a, the podcast, like Rob Woodcox and Bella Kotak and oh, Elizabeth Gadd of course. Yeah. So many more. And we all like. Originally met on Flickr and then from there actually became friends and we even one time in 2014, I think, yeah, must have been 2014.

We had a crazy big meetup. And on Vancouver Island and it was like, it was called Flickr Island. So, it was even called Flickr Island because we all met there. And that was like, I don't know how many people we were, but I'm, I almost want to say me. We were like 40 or something like that. 

And it's recent.

Alastair Jolly: I said recently we had, as soon as the pandemic is done, we have to find a reason to do that again. And maybe just the pandemic being done is reason enough. And we all get together and find a Flickr Island somewhere to go be. 

Laura Zalenga: That would be like the craziest dream because that meetup with those people was, it was.

It was a dream. I mean, if he would make a movie about it, it would be the absolute like dream because you're meeting. And many, many, many of them are self-portrait photographers. And I mean, many of them are like crazy successful people. So today, and it's like so beautiful to follow their paths. And I think it was interesting they kind of all around the same time that we first uploaded our first photos to Flickr and started our journey there. For all of them. I know the journey started there and grew into so crazy cause so many crazy ways, but the community still sticks together. I mean, I remember moments when one of us, like there was someone broke in their car and stole their camera and we all came together to donate a bit of money.

So, in the end, he could buy a new camera again, and that was the kind of community we had. And I think it was so beautiful. Also the fact that from all over the U S and some of us came from Europe flying to Vancouver Island to meet everyone there and have this magical week together where everyone's taking photos and you sit at a bonfire at night and you have some people singing.

And some people playing the guitar. It was like, I'm really felt like it was like, I don't know, it's tiny little, like Woodstock or something like that. It's like, I mean, not as cool. I missed that part of the world history, but really that is definitely true and a bit less music and my photos, but yeah, I can be more excited about this.

Like, and without Flickr, we would have not been there. It's 

such an incredible community on Flickr especially within the self-portrait world, you know, Lizzy Gadd, Joel Robison, Bella Kotak, Rosie Hardy's you know, yourself, it's been wonderful. Being a part of that friendship as well. It's, it's really, really special to this day.

Did finding in that community also help you with collaboration in your work? You mentioned their you all took, were taking pictures together on that project, but is it something you, you do a lot in your work collaboration? 

Not enough. Definitely. I would love to do that more. I feel like it's a bit growing into.

We did that more in the beginning. I definitely remember that. Did you at least did projects together where you had themes and we would all create for that? That definitely happens. But in the sense of actually like working on one thing together or really, really like a close and one collaboration happened more in earlier times.

And then I think it's soon as everyone is starting into. A full-time photography career. You're really busy with your own stuff. And then it doesn't happen enough anymore, which is really, I really need to like hit them up again and say, Hey, we should do this again. Maybe we find some time and really do this because yeah, it would be so beautiful to also see how we all evolve and.

Alastair Jolly: Maybe how you interpret working together and interpret the same locations and that type of stuff. I think, I think we're hatching a little plan here as we talk. So maybe we set some wheels in motion. Absolutely. Yeah. Talking about interpreting images. When you post your images, you typically don't, you typically leave the viewer to their own kinda interpretation of that image, right?

You don't, you don't describe too much. About the story and that's quite deliberate. Yeah? 

Laura Zalenga: Yeah, absolutely deliberate. Because I sometimes have that, that I see a photo that someone took and they really, really, really explain their story, which, I mean, sometimes maybe it's documentary or something it's sometimes really make sense and you need it.

But I think, especially for conceptual work, sometimes it's like seeing the movie after reading the book and you really like a book when you had your own pictures in mind and then. You see the movie and you're like, no, no, no, no, no. That was not what I had imagined. It completely overrides my picture.

And that is really what I don't want to have with my image. I mean, I give sometimes a hint with a title or there's one sentence, but I really enjoy it that everyone can have their own story. And I think my image of that also in the way there might be also be a bit abstract. And I like to use that, to give people the chance to see their own version of the story or to emotion that's happening.

Alastair Jolly: I think it's great that you leave a lot of that to the viewer, to perhaps even own that image a little bit themselves. Yeah. I, I love that, you know, it's, it's a huge part of the sharing. Not only are you sharing your concept and your image and part of yourself and part of that healing project, but to allow the viewer to then own a little bit of themselves in that image, I think is very special.

Laura Zalenga: I love that thought that they all own a bit of the image. That's nice. 

Alastair Jolly: I remember Brooke Shaden saying to me someone. Someone else who is a huge part of our community said to me, that one time, she posted a picture that she didn't, she wasn't that fond of after she'd posted it. And she took it down. She thought it was a little bit too dark.

And someone reached out to him said, please put that photo back up because it means so much to me. And, you know, I needed that image of a specific team. So, I think, you know, people, people really take ownership of an image once you share it. And once you've released it to the world, there's definitely a part of them in that image.

And it's that. Interpretation. That's all it really can be. 

Laura Zalenga: That is so beautiful. And I also sometimes have other people say when I, I barely ever repost things from like older times, but sometimes I do just because of, nostalgia's say this, I remember this image from like 12 years ago. I first saw that when you first posted it and it still means so much to me and I can get the, can get back to that feeling.

And this was so incredibly beautiful that when that happens, 

Alastair Jolly: Good feeling good, feeling indeed. Let's talk a little bit, but inspiration. When, when you feel compelled to take an image, is it because you're inspired by a concept you want to portray? Or is it, are you inspired by a location? Are you inspired by a conversation?

What is the thing that makes Laura want to go take photographs? 

Laura Zalenga: It is very different. I would say probably for most people, it is like, I guess it's never just one thing, right? But for me, the most common one, I felt like at my portfolio would be, I am somewhere and I'm exploring, and I find something that completely makes me think I need to take a photo here with something.

So yeah. That could be a beautiful tree or a really interesting rock formation. So, it is most often a place in nature or maybe it's super beautiful light situation, or I don't know, maybe there's fog and I'm thinking, Ooh, the mood is so nice here. I would say that is the number one. Oh. Of what is, what is triggering it.

And then number two would probably be that I have. A theme maybe. And then I really explore for that, but that is more open. That is more the, when I say I would like to do a project where I have maybe 52 weeks project or something like that, where you have a theme for every week and you explore that topic because it's really inspiring to get out of your comfort zone.

And let's say someone. I don't know, puts a weird topic into the mix. And you're thinking initially this topic is like super not interesting to me or, yeah. It is something that I don't want to create for. And I think that's the best opportunities to, yes. Step out of what you would like initially do and explore a field that.

Later on, at least in my career, those were always the things that pushed me the most and made me create things that are for the longest time in my portfolio. And of course, sometimes it is a mood or feeling or something in me that inspires an image where I say it's an internal motive that triggers and says, Hey, I need to capture that.

And of course, sometimes it's jobs and then you try to make the best out of the theme or an idea that someone else had. 

Alastair Jolly: So, is it a lot of the time is it quite spontaneous? Is it, you know, is it suddenly all look at that weather condition, conditional that latent condition? I'm going to go create. 

Laura Zalenga: Yeah, definitely. I mean, at least with the themes, not so much, but with the.

In your feeling and with the nature, it definitely is spontaneous. And that's also what I love most. I mean, I think it's the best, if you can just play almost like you were in a place and you, yeah. It's really, really explored almost with, in my case, I really also try to explore with my body to really physically of course, be in that place for the self-portrait and yeah.

Then it's a bit like playing, dancing, feeling the place and capturing that as a side note, almost. Like the, camera's not even the, the main thing that's happening. Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: It's just a tool in the box to achieve the outcome that you want. Are you, are you prolific? Do you take photographs every day or is it something that comes, you know, when the moment takes you?

Laura Zalenga: I would say and I mean recently it's definitely not daily because I'm more stuck in the house.

No, I would not say there's like a regularity. It's really more like over now as a moment, but then maybe that comes four days in a row. And then I don't do something for three weeks. That definitely happens. Yeah. I think that is where they're also descends of playing that you are just doing it when it feels right.

And I also enjoy that a lot, but I guess growing more is like from regularity, you definitely grow more. That's also why sometimes I just forced those projects on myself where I said once a week, or maybe for one week, I take a photo every day, because I guess sometimes it is really good to have not just do something that initially like comes from within and more like exploring yeah. Outside of that comfort zone and out of your own boundaries 

Alastair Jolly: You spoke earlier about your images being big, large vistas, and kind of these large minimal landscapes, we're currently in a pandemic. Have you explored your photography in, in your house and your apartment or is that something you, you definitely leave to the outdoors world?

I had to! I mean, there's some parks close by, but it's also crazy cold and you're not really supposed to really wander around. So, I definitely had to explore the tiny garden in front of my apartment and the apartment itself. And I definitely like shot some photos in the kitchen with like a beige wall. So literally in my kitchen, which I never thought I would do actually. And I definitely just shot some in corner of my bedroom and in the living room. So, I'm definitely, definitely exploring the house for that. And it's not as much fun as being in a beautiful forest, a beautiful rock formation, but again, I really enjoy the limits that it sets for me and that I have to work with and that I have to maybe work around. And the things that teaches me about maybe having just one white wall in your living room and working with that and seeing how you can explore and how you yourself. It was an idea or your body or some things that you bring in can be enough of a concept.

And I'm aware of another project that you did during this last year. Let's talk a little bit about Webcam Doubles. 

Laura Zalenga: Oh yeah. I hope that he like completely, I don't know miss that. That is also of course in the house and just, that was also a wall in my living room wall, I think. Yeah, that was with, Ines Rehberger is also a self-portrait and portrait photographer. And a lot of people were doing webcam photo shoots in the way of on one side, there's a model and on the other side, there's a photographer and with the web, can you take a photo? So, kind of like a camera, but you can really get, you have to be able to get really precise instructions.

And then we thought, how cool would it be? If we're both photographers, will self-portrait photographers. How cool would it be if we use well, both windows? Like you don't only see one person, but both. And then, I mean, how it sometimes happens in calls that you are like on top of the other person, and you're kind of, if they maybe lift an arm, it suddenly, it looks like the arm connects with your shoulder.

And it's like that we really explored that possibility that you, of course, in real life don't have so much. So, it was really nice to even see an advantage in the webcam version. And it was really complicated. Actually, I did not expect it to be that complicated because the problem was that the other person never sees it the way you see it, it's a bit like the window is never exactly the same or you see it mirrored. Or there was always something where like, Ines could not see the version of the both images, how I see side. And then it was really like, okay, you need to move your left arm a bit to the right. Oh no, no. I mean to the left and a bit, not a bit lower, but now a bit closer to the camera.

It was the funniest thing. Like if someone would have listened, it would be like, kids just give up on this. This is not going to work out. But it was super fun to explore and to also create in a very different way, because it got more about shape and about connecting forms and exploring yeah. What happens if you really completely give up the control?

And on the other hand, have to be super precise about everything that you say about the pose, which I normally don't do. I don't give a lot of instructions. I normally let people be and really. Enjoy more to see what they give me without so much input from me. But in that case, that was absolutely impossible.

I had to really direct every centimeter. And we later on did that again with another two friends, we were four people, but that was like, it almost broke my brain because then you have four people, and everyone sees a different constellation of those four images. So. It's not even like two people see the same thing.

And then you really tried to have like three other people doing something. So the image just kind of connect yourself. Also has to have to be like fitting. And then you also, of course still have to press some button because otherwise it's not going to make a screenshot. So yeah. It was like the funniest, but also most complicated thing I think I ever did in a photo shoot.

Alastair Jolly: It's one of the, one of the greatest collaborations and projects I have seen during lockdown. If you're listening then go check out Laura's website, LauraZalenga.com and check out the projects page and you'll see Webcam Doubles. And yeah, just looking at the pictures, I can only imagine who complicated it was to get the positioning just right where your body's merge together and all these shapes and compositions that you have. It must've been a lot of fun. You should have recorded that you definitely should have recorded the making of it. I'm sure it would have been hilarious to watch that back in 20 years’ time thinking, what were we doing, but left a bit, right a bit. 

Laura Zalenga: That's so true, but maybe that's a good excuse to do another one because I'm missing that. It was really fun. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. Probably with the pandemic, you would never have maybe even thought of that idea. And so, it's a wonderful project, wonderful portfolio of work. I want to talk about one of your other projects.

There are many projects on your page, but one that I love dearly is your Distilled Grimm project. Tell us a little bit about this project that is based on the fairy tales of the brothers Grimm, right? 

Laura Zalenga: First of all, thank you for your kind words. And for the Grimm, that is maybe even kind of like a childhood dream, because I definitely grew up with it like this massive, massive, big book of all the collection of all the Grimm fairytales spooky as they are.

I think it's, if you really think about it longer, it's pretty interesting that we allow kids to read these. Yeah. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. When you analyze them, they're really, really dark and you know, not great stories, but you know, we've popularized them and created movies and books and theme parks based around them. It's incredible. But I guess being, especially being based in Germany, that would have been very important pieces of work for your childhood. 

Laura Zalenga: It's almost like mandatory. You really have to know them, but I'm also, maybe it was also, I mean, I definitely know my family knows quite some fairytales and I really later on notice that if I asked people around me, they knew like maybe the most prominent ones of the fairytales, but not like there's of course. I mean, I don't even know how many, they are like 300 or 500, a crazy amount of fem fairytales. And I think there's maybe 10 that are very well known. And that was also the ones that I worked with because of course in the project that I did, it was essential that people knew the fairytales quite well, at least, because what I did is that I thought about how can I portray each of these fairytales in the most compact way, maybe in the most distilled way where you really just show what's absolutely necessary to understand that that is that fairytale. And so, for example, for, Oh, now I have to, I don't know if I know the names of the fairytales in English.

So, there is, what's the one with the girl that bites into the Apple and that's Snow White that's no weirder. Yeah. So, for that one, of course I did an Apple that has one bite mark where you see it's just one bite taken off. And then basically you only see that apple is on the floor and you see a hand.

It's funny because. I actually, haven't looked at the images in a while and now I have to really think about it. I wonder if I know that it was completely well, I 

Alastair Jolly: love them. I looked at them with my kids and what I, what I love about it. You called it Distilled Grimm, right? You've distilled these images down to just the minimalist parts to allow people to quite clearly understand which a fairy tale it is, but it's so minimal.

And my kids absolutely loved them.

Laura Zalenga: Did they guess which ones they were?

Alastair Jolly: Almost all of them, especially Rapunzel. Where it's just the bottom of a ponytail at the top of the frame and a hand reaching up against the stone wall, Red Riding Hood, where you just have the nose of a Wolf and the sort of fleeting glimpse of a red cape as it runs out of frame, it's just beautifully, beautifully done Hansel and Gretel when it's just two kids feet walking away with some bread crumbs, bang them.

Absolutely love that. How long did that project take? 

Laura Zalenga: Quite a while, actually, I think because that was really a lot about almost interviewing people like, which are the most. Well known fairytales, which one can you use without going too much into the ones that nobody even knows? And then, yeah, also executing was a bit like finding because those were harder as self-portrait.

So a lot of these hands and feet is my sister or even one time. It's my mom. I think where I was like, Hey, can we do this? Can we do that? And also. It needed props and I barely ever use props. So to be done, I was like, okay, now I can like this or this. And how do I even then I get some fake bloods and a needle, like a big needle for it.

So you, because you still have to see it for the Sleeping Beauty. Yeah. I'm ready to have to practice my English fairytale vocabulary.  I'm pretty sure it is risky now because it's about, it's a rose growing around the castle. And it's a thorn Rose rule, something like that. 

Alastair Jolly: What's the one where the girl was catching coins in her dress.

That was the one we couldn't work out what that one was.

Laura Zalenga:  Ah, I also only know the German name and that's Die Sterntaler. So, it is a girl a very poor girl that helps someone. And then who now that's embarrassing. Cause I don't know exactly, but at least I know in the end. The stars are falling from heaven and they turn into like gold coins in the end for her as a reward.

And I do not know if it was like a witch that did that, or I don't know what, what, what made it happen in the end? That is still the key point that I don't know right now. 

Alastair Jolly: I have to go get my brothers Grimm collection out and find out exactly what that one was. It was really, really good to get Cinderella in there as well.

Others it's just such a great collection. I love that one. Love that one. And it's very different from your work, you know, it's, it's, you know, collaborations, there's theater props, cause something about your work is there, there's not a lot of props. A lot of times there is barely even any clothing. Right. It's very, very minimalist, not just in the scene itself, but also in what you're wearing.

And again, that's very deliberate. Yeah. 

Laura Zalenga: Yeah, definitely. I mean, to me, it is all about removing all distraction. I think. And of course in the fairytales that also tried to only show nothing but more that wasn't necessary it to understand that precise story, because this time I needed to be precise, but in my other work, I wanted to be more abstract and I wanted to be relatable.

And I think the more details you have, the more you reduce the amount of people who could maybe relate to it. And of course, I can only portray as myself. A wide. Yeah. I don't even, I guess from a distance it could be genderless, but it will still stay a white slimish person in a certain age. So, I mean, I'm, I'm, I can like make everyone relate to it, but at least kind of a group.

And if I would, for example, where I don't know. Modern dress or something like that, then I would already really give a lot of hints on maybe the time I want to refer to, and then it would really be addressed. And that's why I really like to just have this person and I'm wearing a bodysuit and like the closest I can find to my skin color.

So it almost looked like no clothes, but it's also not nude where in our sexualized world, we will be distracted by that. So, I really try to not distract. I really just want it to be a human being. As much as I personally with how I look can boil it down to a human being. Yeah. And give it like a bit of a timeless feeling, maybe.

So. 

Alastair Jolly: Yeah. You've got a body suit on and pretty small and frame. You don't really have a lot of cues to let people make up too much interpretation of it. You don't tell people a lot of descriptions in your posts. So, you really leave a lot to the imagination as we spoke about earlier. Even when it comes to the lack of props and lack of clothing, it's almost timeless in that way as well.

Laura Zalenga: Yeah, and that's exactly what I want to achieve. So, it's really nice that it is that way. Really cool. That that works out 

Alastair Jolly: So, let’s talk about the practicalities of doing what you do. So, you have this body suit that I guess has always on hand because you're so spontaneous. You just grab it and run. Is that how it normally works?

Laura Zalenga: Well, I have five or something like that. And there's like two are in my parents' house in Germany and three, and I have here, I think so. Definitely. Yeah. And the place that I'm most often, there's definitely one. And I also, wherever I go, I bring one just in case, because you could always run like into a cool locations and inspiration.

And then what if I'm wearing whatever a yellow pants and a green jacket? Well, I don't own that many colors, but I know I would be. Sad or mad if I wouldn't have it with me and couldn't take a photo. So it definitely has to be with me wherever I go, because there's a chance that I need to use it. Yeah.

Alastair Jolly: And what else is in that kinda grab bag when you're ready to, and you feel the need to go create an image or that inspiration takes over you? What's in Laura's bag. 

Laura Zalenga: So, it's definitely a tripod. And hopefully if I pack did good, then it also has the mount on a tripod. So, I kind of connect my camera, which is like, I think my most common thing that I have run out, we've all been there.

Alastair Jolly: We've all been there. Tripod, great location, no plate to connect it to them. 

Laura Zalenga: But I mean, then you have to get to get creative and just put your camera on a tree stump or something. I mean, the amount of times I showed up with my camera on them, Backpack or on something is like incredible. And then of course, there's my camera in there and that is, well right now it's a Sony.

Seriously, I think that the name, what comes after the word Sony is so complicated. It's a, A7Riii. No, it's an A7iii, I think. Exactly. So, let's narrow it down to that because that's what I know about it. And I should probably be more into the really, really big details. But to me gear has always been an incredible chance.

Once I'm in its managed upgrades because of course it makes life easier with, with every upgrade. Normally you're like, it takes some, something away to you would otherwise also need to think about. But I always know for a fact that for me, I can take a great image also with a little point and shoot, because to me it's about the composition, the idea, the pose, the light, all of that for me comes before the perfect technique.

Of course I would be upset if that photo would be too small to print it, or if that photo would be out of focus or if I maybe would have wanted a narrowed up so field that I couldn't have it, but I would be more upset if I have the perfect camera with the perfect lens and everything perfect and the idea is boring.

The composition is off. And the colors are weird. That would upset me more, but still saying that I have one lens it's an 85, 1.4 Zeiss, I think. And that is a lens when I take photos of other people that is magical. Like, it's just so nice to photograph with that. That's so so nice for self-portrait that doesn't really work because it's just too close up or what I'm doing.

So that's most often with a 35 or a 28 to 70, but. That lens is really, I wish I could use that for self-portraits, but it just doesn't like, yeah, I don't take so many like close of face portraits of myself. And what else do I bring? In earlier times I brought remote control though, in the very beginning, I only had a point and shoot and I was just putting it on self-timer and ran in the five seconds that I had, and then went back and looked at a blurry picture.

And went back 10 more times and finally had one that was fine. And later on, handset, remote control, that was over the really, really nice to have something that you can just click and stay in place and take 10 photos or something and go back and check. And nowadays I can connect my phone, which was like, that was when I was like, ah, technique is kind of cool.

It is really nice to just see what my camera sees on my phone and even put the focus on my phone and I'm like, ah, magical worlds. But yeah, I definitely also works without, and I also noticed that sometimes if you. With the connection with the phone. For example, of course, I see every pose. I can make it perfect in a sense but compared to when I had the little remote control in my hand, I did more things intuitively because if you don't know your pose, you're more feeling the pose you're more.

Yeah, yeah. Listening to your insight and make a post out of that. While when I see myself on the phone, I look at the visuals, how it looks and react on that. So, I always tell that to anyone who's not able to maybe afford a super expensive camera. There's always, always an advantage that you have also when you're not having the fanciest equipment, there's always a negative side to both of those. High end super not high end. 

Alastair Jolly: We always talk about, you know, ultimately, it's just a box with a hole in it. So, gear doesn't really matter. And as you say, there's advantages to having great gear and not some of the bells and whistles that we have nowadays, but it is interesting that sometimes there's just that lens that inspires you and wants to make you, make an image.

And just because of the way it looks or the way it feels, even in the hands. So know gear is important in that way, but. Ultimately, we can create with whatever we have, even if it's just a phone in your pocket or something, nowadays there incredible what we can do with the gear we have.

Laura Zalenga:  Definitely and also, I think it's just to me, I don't want to talk gear down, but I know my heart and my, my head, my brain, I just always going to be on the top two places.

And then number three is gear. It's still number three. It's not longer 50. On what's important, but it's just never going to be on one or two. 

Alastair Jolly: Is there a lot of post-production goes into your work?

Laura Zalenga: Totally dependent. I have so many images where it's like five minutes in Lightroom where I just want to correct some color.

Maybe, maybe, maybe crop a little bit. It wasn't possible to do that perfectly. How I wanted it on location. Yeah. Mostly then maybe a bit of colors, I guess. And then of course there's images where I absolutely am in love with the possibilities of Photoshop and have myself twice in the image, for example, or have a tree growing out of the side of my body or something like that.

It's I'm, I that's, I'm also so happy that I don't have to decide for one of those two directions that I can do both and that yeah. I have the magical possibility of doing something crazy that wouldn't be possible in real life in Photoshop. And that I also have to possibility to just shoot something beautiful or interesting or confusing or even so real looking and reality.

And I enjoyed it a lot when I manage that, that it happens in real life. And then I just have to edit some colors or sometimes even nothing. So, I think it's just to me, the magic is actually that both directions are possible.

Alastair Jolly: After so many years, you know, starting way back in 2008, I won't tell you how long ago it was when I started, but you started back 2008 you have an incredible portfolio of images.

Is there any one image that you would call your favorite? 

Laura Zalenga: That is really hard. I know that for a long time, it wasn't an image of where at the day I shaved of my super, super long hair. And so really to what I was bald and take took the first photos of that. And it was one of the rare photos that was actually in the sense of the word, a self-portrait, because I was, I was really Laura in that moment that was really also trying to capture Laura, and it was a close-up photo and because most of my other self-portraits I rather call not myself portraits. So, it's a bit like I'm saying I'm a person. Yes. The technique is self-portraiture, but that final photo is not for me. It's a person. I often say when I talk about my images, I say the person that image, I don't say me. So, I'm really kind of a bit disconnecting also to that, but that photo with the bald head was really an actual self-portrait and just meant so much to me, for so many reasons of the actual moment that I captured there. And it's also barely edited.

Alastair Jolly: Is that the one where you have your hands kind of wrapped around your yourself, your head. It's a beautiful image. The thing that gets me most about that image, isn't the shaved head. It's that, that your eyes, the eye contact and that image, it's just very raw, very authentic and very genuine.

It's a beautiful, 

Laura Zalenga: thank you. And I also liked that, like maybe there was a bit also why I like it because. Of course, a bold head, maybe, especially on female people is something where we're not used to it. And where we're yeah, it's kind of loud, almost. And then still managing that the gaze in a silent way, still a bit loud it's maybe, maybe, and also, I mean, there's a lot of things behind that image and a lot of feelings and stories and stuff.

I guess I allowed also that they are in the disguise maybe. And. Maybe that's also why. Yeah. It means a lot to me. And maybe if some people are able to see that in the eyes, it's also so nice that you say that you see that it's really like cool.

Alastair Jolly: But you did stay there for a long time. It was your favorite image.

Does that mean it's no anymore?

Laura Zalenga: After so many years too, also you just become used to it. Right. And then there's other, other images following up and. I mean, there is one where I'm lying in this riverbed almost it's like in Italy, like called valid subscale or something like that. And it's like really, really, really beautiful, colorful stone with river flowing through.

And I was laying there in a black dress and colored the water black, and I'm kind of connecting the water. Like I'm almost flowing with the river and my dress is just flowing into the next puddle. That just very, very much for me symbolizes the connection to nature and kind of trying to be part of it and maybe, yeah, connecting different, different parts there, but maybe that's why it means a lot to me.

And visually I also kind of like the colors of the place also that that was taken out is such a nice, beautiful place. So maybe that is a more recent fav. 

Alastair Jolly: I interpreted that images as the subject can, it dissolving back into nature and becoming one with nature. That was the way I looked to that image color better was bleeding into.

So yeah, I love that image as well. And what I'll do is I'll put those images in the blog post that accompanies this podcast. So, people can go to the blog post and have a good look at them. What is the reward for Laura? We spoke about some of the benefits then, you know, the healing nature and the, the learning about yourself.

But what is the ultimate reward for Laura when it comes to producing a piece of art and sharing it with the world? 

Laura Zalenga: Ooh, that's difficult actually, because I think initially it's always the. Yeah. Almost like an urge to create that image. And then maybe it's a bit of like a relief to actually like produce it then.

And maybe we touch on it and finally seeing in front of you and also being surprised by what came out of it. Because I think like maybe 1% of my image has turned out exactly the way I planned them. And I enjoyed that the most that they have the possibility to change while shooting and while editing again.

So, I think it's a bit like, yeah, just producing what really feel like you need to definitely also the feedback that you get. If someone says they really feel something with, with seeing your image, that is an incredible feeling that you, because I mean, what's the most beautiful thing about a movie or a book or, or music, especially that it makes you feel something.

And I'm always so jealous of like about musicians to have something that is maybe less visual distracted. So, you can really just close your eyes and hear and feel something. And in such a powerful way where I think visuals might not very often be able to compete with that. And that makes me so happy if people say I really yeah feel something, or it reminds them of something. Or also of course, if you're talking about a topic and that makes something better for other people that is. I guess an amazing thing if that happens. And also if you get the chance to do that, if you're either have a job like that, or if you have a topic where you managed to change something for the better for anyone, I think that is one of the best awards.

Alastair Jolly: Speaking of change, if you could wave a magic wand and change something about the industry, the photo industry at the moment, what would you like to see? What are some of the directions you'd like? 

Laura Zalenga: Hmm. I think a while ago I would have said more diversity, but I think we're working on that, but definitely so much not there, but in any way, shape, direction, more diversity.

But I think that stone already is clicked on and is kind of rolling. Yeah. I think often it is not seen as work. For, if you do something out of passion, so many people are still thinking, yeah, it's a hobby, it's not a job. And that's also, I feel like reflected in except of for commercial, like stuff like that.

That's also reflected in the payment that artists get. And yeah, I guess we also see that now in the pandemic, that's art is not seen as something essential most of the time in any shape. I mean, to me, it is. Good. That sounds super posh to say it to me, it's essential to go to Opera. Of course I can live without it, but what it gives to me to go to an opera house and see an opera and see the people working on this forever and they show it on stage and it puts so much emotion into it in a singing, an aria that is.

I don't know, like hundreds of years old and they sing that that's like makes my life better in a kind of essential way. And I think we did not see that yet for art. So, I think that would be nice if we changed on it a bit more, but maybe that's also super privileged wish. 

Alastair Jolly: No, but I don't think, I don't think it's unique to the pandemic.

You know, we've, we've seen the art struggle decades and centuries, you know, of depressions and other event, world events that have caused art to be the first thing that gets cut from budgets. The first thing that has to go when resources are, are not available. And yeah, I would especially know during a pandemic, we see the photo industry in all its forms. All the genres of Photography, really struggling the creative arts as a whole, really struggling, not just with the lack of work, but also the lack of support, the lack of understanding that it has a job and a career that needs supported the same as everybody else does. So. Very interesting times and very interesting thoughts to discuss the idea that we need to be recognized as a job.

It's something we hear all the time. Like, you know, you're so lucky not to have a real job. Real job takes a lot of work. Yeah, absolutely. What's next for Laura? What is the future? Or you got some other projects lined up. Are you inspired today or are you just waiting for the pandemic to be over? 

Laura Zalenga: I guess I'm a bit waiting because yeah.

It of course offers some chances of exploring different things. But I think it also puts a weight on all of us. It might be a very privileged weight for most of us, but it still puts a weight on us. And as much as I am good at creating when I'm maybe sad or have like an internal. Down face, but if it's so much coming from the outside and it is, I'm more like financial existential stress that you have, that is not a mood that makes me create that is like bit of a panic mood then.

So that would be one reason. To say, I would like to be, have this be over, but of course I can sit here and wait. I will not. It's a privileged wish. And also I definitely recently explore more photographing other people and it's not so much possible right now because I want to tell, I think I told my story a lot by now, and I'm definitely interested in telling other people's stories, especially to stories of people who don't get heard enough.

I mean, a, I learned a lot. And I think that is, it's so beautiful. They're learning about things that you have no idea about and to maybe improve how you live your life in a way to harm people less than harm, and maybe the world less, something like that. And that's of course right now, hard to meet those people and photograph them.

I'm also looking forward to working more on projects because I think these directions. I mean, it is harder to find clients in those directions because I mean, many, many, many of them are NGO's and they don't have a lot of money. And you still need to make a living, but that is definitely my plan for the future to manage, to do more work for companies that or brands, or I dunno what sharing my values.

I want to push more. Yeah. So that is maybe my, my dream goal. And let's see if that happens. 

Alastair Jolly: And we look forward to seeing all that come to fruition in the future. Laura, I really appreciate you taking the time today. One great thing about us all being locked in doors is it has given us the opportunity to do things that we said, we need to do this.

We need to do this and then never actually get to do it. So, it has given us a little bit of luxury of time is one. One benefit to, to look at such a horrible situation. Thank you so much for taking the time. I want to encourage everybody to go check out Laura's work of course, on Flickr. So if you go to flickr.com/laurazalenga, you will see the entire history of Laura's work.

So it was great to go back and look at that first image and see it's still there. You haven't taken it down?

Don't take it down. 

Don't take it down there that I've mentioned it. Yeah, to be honest, it's one of the wonderful things about Flickr is being able to, to learn from other people's progression and see how they started and really analyze that journey that we've, we've all been on.

So go check out. Laura's work on Flickr. And of course, Laurazalenga.com. Your website. We'll find all the work and the links and the projects that they need to find out and discover your, your work if they haven't already discovered it.

 Laura, thank you so much. This has been so much fun. I've been looking forward to it.

So thank you for your time today. 

Laura Zalenga: Thank You so much, this was really fun and really interesting questions and it really, actually, some, I felt like I made some new thoughts. Well with some of your questions. So, this is really nice. 

Alastair Jolly: I'm glad, I'm glad you've enjoyed being on the podcast. Thank you so much. Take care everybody and we'll see you on the next episode.

Laura, take care. Look after yourself. 

Laura Zalenga: You too. Thank you.