Portrait Photography in Action – An Interview with Lorna Milburn

I know many photographers, most of them very talented, but I know one photographer who is able to make me feel completely relaxed in front of her camera: Lorna Milburn. She comes from a fine art background and has a rare sensitivity for people’s moods and feelings. I simply love her work, she is able to make herself invisible and capture rare moments: the expression of an old man at a bus stop, a glimpse of a younger beauty in a mature woman, or a genuine smile. Lorna works mainly as a portrait and wedding photographer, surely not your average wedding shots.

I am lucky enough to have known Lorna as a friend for over 10 years, and been asked to pose for her on several occasions, here’s one of my favourite shots:

Us by Lorna Milburn

Lorna is quite reserved so I am glad I managed to get her to answer some of my questions about creativity and her way to approach it. Hope you enjoy it.

Q: Hi Lorna, what inspires you to start a new project?

Everything I do is part of an ongoing project called my life!  I take photos all the time, and constantly challenge myself to find beauty and interest in all things.

Q: Have you ever been stuck for ideas?

I think ideas are the easy part, but doing something about them is hard.  It’s probably an obvious thing to say, but I have learnt to stop speaking about all these ‘great ideas’ in my head, as talk is often the enemy to action.

Q: Is there someone/something in particular that inspires you?

Yes, people, always.

Q: What makes you laugh?

…..usually something involving other people’s misfortune!  More ‘you’ve been framed’ than somebody dying obviously.  Humour is a strange thing, you can develop your tastes in food, music, art but what makes us laugh is beyond our control.  I find it hard to laugh at myself, which is a real weakness.
Q: What piece of advice would you give to a young artist who hasn’t yet developed his/her style?

Try everything.  Copy other people until you find out what you like.  I don’t think having a particular style is that important anyway.

Q: How did you develop your style?

I am not sure I have a style, I use different techniques for different situations and always have done.

Q: What part of the day do you find more productive?

I would have always said the night in the past – but this was never too productive.  Morning is best (am I getting old?)

Q: How much do you take into account other people’s opinion of your work?

Obviously if I am being hired to take photos, my clients opinions matter a lot.  If I am creating my own project, I only consider what I think – or more accurately I’ll listen to other people’s opinions and then dismiss them.

Q: Do you give yourself rules when you work?

No.  I usually have a strong idea of what I want to create when I have organised shoot – though the camera dictates what is or isn’t working, and often everything goes out the window.

Q: How do you keep your creativity alive? How do you feed it?

This is not a conscious thing.  I don’t specifically go to exhibitions or watch films etc to feed my creativity.  I think the kindest thing you can do for your creativity is to stop judging yourself.

Q: is there any project that you’re working on that you’d like to share with the readers of the blog?

I am planning a few styled shoots with a stylist friend of mine, but in the meantime they can see what I am up to on my blog!


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