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How Photographer Lauren Loncar Finds Focus    

How Photographer Lauren Loncar Finds Focus

Art by FISK

By Sadie Newman 

When it comes to focus, photographer Lauren Loncar uses pressure to her advantage. On photo shoots for brands such as Levi’s, Aerie, American Eagle and Freepeople, Loncar finds that she is performing at her best when a deadline is approaching. 

Loncar grew up in a small town in Ohio and now splits her time between California and New York. I’ve worked with her several times and have always enjoyed my time on set with her. This month’s theme of “focus” plays a major part in any photographer’s life, but I’ve always admired how Loncar incorporates focus into both her work and everyday life. 

That’s why I was so happy to speak with her and have her share her insights on finding and maintaining focus for this month’s Inner Piece.

What do you want people to know about you?

I’m an NYC/LA-based photographer. I like working on vintage cars, browsing Zillow endlessly, and helping animals in need. I’m an introvert with a dry sense of humor, and I have a lot of good stories.

Do you have any methods you use to help you focus?

I find it very difficult to be focused when I’m not in a good place mentally. My thoughts often get scrambled, and I get pulled in different directions. To help, I will often make a to-do list for the day. Checking something off of my to-do list helps me feel more accomplished and motivates me to stay focused on completing my list for the day. If I’m having a hard time focusing on one thing, I let myself step away from it. I’ll work on finishing some other task instead. I try to not be too hard on myself if I can’t stay focused. Instead, I think of ways that can help me stay focused for the next day. Sometimes that’s waking up early, writing affirmations, or just scheduling my day out the night before.

The word “focus” is part of being a photographer. How does it play a part in your everyday life as well?

With work, I am most focused under pressure. A tight deadline, or a quick-paced shoot are always when I feel I perform my best. There isn’t time to second guess yourself, and I love making something that feels impossible happen. In my personal life, having short-term goals helps keep me focused on the present, and having long-term goals helps me stay focused on the bigger picture and what I really want out of life.

What have you learned about yourself during these times? How has it impacted your mental health?

My biggest takeaway is that I wrongly equate my personal value to my professional success. It’s really hard to separate the two, because as a photographer your work is incredibly personal. Pre-Covid, I was busy and traveling for work multiple times a month. Being busy felt good and validating. As things slowed down, I really had to sit with myself and reflect on other ways I could feel valued and validated with my work. I still often feel anxious or guilty if I’m not busy working on something photography- or business-related. I realized that in order to create mindful work that I’m proud of, I need to step back, take breaks, and be less hard on myself during this time. I’ve gotten better at not stressing over the things I can’t control.

How do you know when you are in a good place with your mental health?

I know I’m in a good place when I’m feeling confident, thankful, and happy with who I am. There is so much pressure to be busy, to look a certain way, to have certain things, etc. It’s really liberating to just say, “Fuck that. I’m happy and satisfied with who I am and how far I’ve come.” I obviously don’t feel this way all the time, and when I’m in a bad place with my mental health it’s not easy getting back there. It takes time. I try to step back from the things that are triggering me to feel bad. I take the time to reflect on what truly makes me happy and brings me joy, not what I’m told will make me happy or bring me joy.

Who do you turn to when you need to talk about issues related to mental health?

My partner is my go-to. He’s known me for some time and has a very clear picture of my past, and my ambitions, frustrations, and triggers. Those things are important in understanding why I’m feeling depressed, and they are keys to working through it.

What is something that you wish you’d known sooner about mental health?

I wish I knew the path wasn’t linear. I wish I knew a lot of people feel the same way I have felt sooner. I wish people, especially in my industry, would be more open to discussing mental health and how the dynamics of our industry really affect it.

Keep the conversation going by commenting on this story below. You can also connect with us about whatever’s on your mind by texting The Local Optimist Hotline at 310.299.9414.