With a recent move from Los Angeles to Denver, photographer David Lauer traded a view of the Pacific for view of the Rockies. Take a look at the space he’s created in his new mid-century-built home – the headquarters of his growing architectural photography studio.
Give us a little insight on your background. I’m originally from Wisconsin and graduated from UW-Madison with a Bachelor of Science in Art. I was artistic from a very young age. At about age 12, I got very interested in the then-new home computer technologies of the early 80′s. I grew up right along with the rapid advancement of computer graphics. As there was no computer graphics major at the time, I took to many forms of art, including photography. I also had a strong interest in architecture and studied some of that curriculum. I landed a job at a local computer graphics company before graduating. The company grew rapidly and I helped develop software (from the artist viewpoint) that was widely used in the movie industry. It wasn’t long before my ambition caused me to pack up and move to L.A. I started working in the visual effects industry just as it was blossoming. This was 1992. I rose to a supervisor level and worked on over 20 major movies during my film career. The last film I worked on is “The Life of Pi” directed by Ang Lee, which comes out November 21.
How long have you been a photographer? Well, I’ve been a photographer on the side ever since college, but started thinking about it as a serious career change a few years ago. I had the opportunity to study with and assist one of world’s leading architectural photographers, Tim Griffith. This really took my work to the next level and I knew I was ready to go full time. The gradual transition has allowed me time to acquire the costly cameras, tilt-shift lenses, lighting, and computer equipment necessary for the best results. I also feel my 20-year experience in supervising the fine details of film visuals really gives me an edge to produce outstanding architectural photography in which details and precision are paramount. Today’s best architectural photography requires extensive post production, which is very similar to compositing in the visual effects field.
While Los Angeles has world-class architecture and is responsible for my love of mid-century modernist architecture in particular, I felt a desire to explore life in a new city and the mountains of Colorado came calling. I now live in my own mid-century home in Denver. I quickly went to work as a top photographer for the regional magazine Modern In Denver. It’s allowed me to meet many people in the design industry here and I look forward to the rapid growth of my business.
Tell us what you’re passionate about, what inspires you, and where you’re going. My admiration for the modernist architects and seeing their work firsthand in California really ignited my interest in architectural photography. I studied the works of great modernist photographers: Julius Shulman, Ezra Stoller, Ernie Braun, and Balthazar Korab. Photographers such as those give me plenty of inspiration to continue to fine-tune my craft. Although a much smaller market than Los Angeles, Denver has many fine architectural firms and the city has a booming art scene and really great restaurants. I appreciate how the smaller size makes the city more accessible than the wide sprawl of LA, not to mention less traffic! I still have ties to Los Angeles and enjoy going back from time to time. As my business grows, I look forward to more traveling assignments in other markets.
In addition to architectural work, I also shoot landscape photography and plan on more gallery showings of those pieces. The Rocky Mountains offer spectacular and endless amounts of subject matter.
Were there any special considerations that influenced the set up of your office? What do you like or dislike? It’s a great, comfortable space. I didn’t need a large office but wanted to have enough room to allow a seating area for clients. I kept it simple and tied it with the rest of the house by including some mid-century pieces. The carpet and painted walls are neutral with bright-colored furniture and pop artist Roy Lichtenstein prints. I brought a bit of the Pacific Ocean to Colorado with my seven-foot photographic print on canvas by artist Olivier Pojzman. The vantage point not far from where I lived in Marina Del Rey. I confess I miss the ocean. I make my own fine-art prints on an Epson pro wide-carriage printer. Quality prints are great to show architectural clients. As my business grows, I’ll be looking to move into a larger commercial office space. It would be nice to stretch out a bit more and have access to an outdoor area.
You have both a Mirra Chair and an Eames Lounge in your space. Why did you choose them? One of the companies I worked for in Los Angeles supplied Aeron Chairs for all the employees. I fell in love with them. I went to a local supplier intending to purchase the same and came across the Mirra Chair. I really liked the aesthetic difference and the color options… the lower price didn’t hurt either. I decided on a green one to go with my DWR Nine.Two.Five office furniture. I also often work on my laptop in my Eames Lounge Chair. I’ve had it for over 10 years now. It’s great when people that don’t know about such an iconic furniture piece still fall in love with it immediately. It’s definitely my favorite place to sit in the house!