Art Boner: The Surreal Photography of Minneapolis’ Lauren Treece

Art Boner: The Surreal Photography of Minneapolis’ Lauren Treece


Tell us just a bit about yourself, where you live in Minneapolis, where you work, etc.

My name is Lauren Treece and I have lived in Uptown for about 5 years. I grew up in North Carolina and consider the Southeast my home. I am currently working on a side project called Silent Bell Theater with a group of friends from Minneapolis and Alaska. Our goal is to start a medicine show and puppetry theater that we can travel with and perform in different cities, as well as host workshops for children to learn how to make marionettes and perform their own shows.

1. Who are these characters that star in your photographs?
90 percent of the photographs you see are self portraits. A few photos feature several friends who modeled for a magazine spread. My little sister shows up from time to time as well.

2. How do you create such a spooky, surreal aesthetic?
Well, I’m heavily influenced by dreams and nightmares. When I was a kid it was a something that prevented me from falling asleep at night. For a long time I needed noise or music in headphones in order to calm myself as I lay in bed. When I got into photography I wanted to try and recreate some of the images I could recall from a particular dream onto film. The end result is never really how it appeared in my dream; however, the eerie sort of ambiguity that all dreams possess often times is communicated. I want each of my photographs to feel as if what is being photographed is not tangible in the real world.

I use dramatic light and shadows juxtaposed with the model and props/pose to create the scene. Using old film helps give each photo a hazy and dreamy quality that I like a lot.

3. Are you an analog or digital evangelist? Or do you use both in concert?
I use 35mm and several different kinds of polaroid films, including SX-70 and Polaroid Spectra film, as well as Land Camera films. I prefer the look and texture of analog photography and the unpredictability of expired film. I have a good digital camera that I use on occasion but it’s rare that I choose digital over analog.

4. What’s your advice for people who want to get into photography?
Utilize what nature offers you. natural light, shadows, raw textures, and organic colors are wonderful tools. When I started working with polaroid film, I learned that taking photos right as the sun is setting or rising made the lighting spectacular and transformed the photo into something ethereal.

5. What photographer do you want to turn Tangential readers on to?
Most of my favorite photographers are semi-professional or undiscovered photographers that I have found on Flickr. Ellen Rogers and Hannah Elisabeth are two brilliant artists that everyone should check out.

Interview by Becky Lang

  • ¬†reminds me of the cover of The Flaming Lips’ Embryonic.