Lainey Berlin's Quirky and Thoughtful Photo Series "GIRLS"

Monday, February 27, 2017

Lainey Berlin is a fellow college student from Dallas, Texas who "strive[s] to capture authenticity, natural beauty, genuine hearts and timeless memories through [her] photos." Her photo series entitled "GIRLS" embodies that vision for her creativity, yet also proves something much greater. It provokes a strong message around the idea of what it means to be womanly in this day and age. Lainey describes this as "capturing the nature and beauty of femininity", and here at H&H we are all about learning and listening to others on this topic many of us hold dear.

Therefore, today we get to chat and dive a little deeper with the girl behind the project. 


Habit & Heart: Where did inspiration come from for this project?

Lainey Berlin: Inspiration for this series came from a compilation of different photographers, musicians, artists and magazines that I have followed and appreciated over the years. Some names including Lauren Tepfer, Petra Collins, Tavi Gevinson, the 1975, Lorde, Ryn Weaver, Darling Magazine and many other Instagram accounts and Tumblr photographs built up in my archive. However, if I were to pinpoint one source of inspiration, I would have to say the book Babe by Petra and Tavi really opened my eyes to a whole new side of photography and power that I was unaware of. Babe is a collection of photographs reflecting feminism while exploring female identity in midst of our objectifying and degrading media world. More than thirty female artists came together to contribute to create one voice. It wasn’t until I flipped through the pages of this book when I realized I too could use my passion of photography as a voice to all girls around the world who are growing up in the society that I am. I have always dreamed of creating a photo-set that not only held a story, but a powerful message. It wasn’t until recently when I started to become confident in my photography, that I decided to make this project a reality.

H&H: How would you describe femininity and being a woman?

LB: I could spend days coming up with characteristics and phrases in attempt to conclude with one truthful definition of what I believe being a woman means, but thankfully I don’t have to. Being a woman isn’t confined to one single definition. Instead, being a woman means exceeding expectations, breaking barriers, proving power while at the same time remaining unapologetically confident and secure with who you are as a female. There is not a single woman who sets the example of how every girl should live and look, despite what the media suggests. Darling Magazine says it best, women need to realize “beauty apart from vanity, influence apart from manipulation, style apart from materialism, sweetness apart from passivity, and womanhood without degradation.” Women need to support other women. Women need to love other women. Women need to look out for other women. But most importantly, women need to come together to prove their power. I mean, girl power, can I get an amen?


"Women need to support other women.
Women need to love other women. 
Women need to look out for other women."

H&H: I noticed you switched up your editing style with these photos, using pink and cooler tones. Was this choice intentional?

LB: My editing choices for this set were 100% intentional. Personally, the pink and blue tones evoke a sense emotion that would not be successfully created with any other colors. I feel as if the aesthetic of the photographs properly convey the message I was hoping to get across. I have also carried this aesthetic into my other Instagram photos. I like how it sets my pictures apart from what people typically see when scrolling through their feed.

H&H: What other artistic choices did you make when creating this project?

LB: When I was in the process of taking the photos, I came to realize that there was a very fine line between being getting the project done and allowing myself the time to truly love what I created. Although GIRLS is composed of only six photographs, I took about 100+ photos and had 12-14 final products to choose from. In fact, the original six photos I was planning on posting where either retaken or replaced by another idea the week I published them. I worked on this series for about two weeks until I was 100% happy with it, forcing me to be patient. I challenged myself not to settle, but instead I wanted GIRLS to be something I was proud of. 

"I challenged myself not to settle, 
but instead I wanted GIRLS 
to be something I was proud of."

H&H: As noted in your artist statement, what is the overall story you have created through GIRLS? And, what is the individual meaning of each photo?

LB: I understand I have been quite vague with the story created through GIRLS, but there is a reason for that. I strongly believe that not all art needs an explanation. This is derived from my experiences throughout school, specifically English class. Almost every time we were asked to analyze a poem or piece of writing I never had the same answer as my classmates. I became very insecure and questioned why I saw things differently, essentially making myself believe that I was wrong. Because of that, I strive to create something open-ended. My art has no “right” answer. My art is challenging, mysterious, and limitless. I want someone to look at a photo and see something different than the next person. Just how there is no single definition for women, there is no single story in GIRLS.

H&H: Do you have other ideas in the works? What is next for you creatively?

LB: Believe it or not I have a growing list of ideas on the Notes in my phone for more photo series.  Some major topics I plan to capture in future projects include our society’s obsession with technology, specifically cell phones and social media. I also plan to disprove the common assumption that there is a correlation between sensitivity and weakness. I am constantly inspired every single day by even the littlest of things, so there is so much more to come that I don’t even know - yet, how thrilling is that?


That's a wrap! Thank you so much, Lainey, for sharing your heart behind GIRLS and letting us feel allllll the creative feels (it can't just be me!). You can follow along with Lainey through Instagram and her website.

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by mlekoshi