What He Does: If you read any of the arts publications that circulate in this town, chances are you've seen Lynn Lane's work. As the main photographer for Karen Stokes Dance and NobleMotion Dance, the Montrose resident is a regular in CultureMap, Dance Source Houston, the Houston Chronicle and, of course, this publication.
After spending nearly two decades in New York, the Houston native quickly entrenched himself in Houston's performing arts scene upon moving back to Houston a year and a half ago. In his past artistic life, he has been a painter, a furniture designer, a documentary filmmaker, a curator of film festivals and a music video director. Today, he primarily focuses on dance, fashion and portrait photography. His "Portrait Project" -- candid, honest shots of well-known Houston arts figures, including choreographers Dominic Walsh and Karen Stokes -- was one of our favorite series in "People: Contemporary Photographers Looking at Houston," running now at One and Two Allen Center as part of a series of exhibitions celebrating Houston's 175th anniversary.
Why He Likes It: Simply put, Lane loves people. "I'm drawn to human emotion and motion," said Lane during an interview at his studio in the newish Spring Street Studios. He has found both of these things in dance, shooting rehearsals for companies, or creating site-specific works that don't have an audience. The challenge to him is to not take what he calls "lottery shots" -- where you fire 30 shots at once, and maybe you get one good photo among the lot. Rather, he shoots with intent, without the crutch of presets, Photoshop or even cropping.
"My shots are very intentional and decisive and framed the way I want -- it's like hunting," said Lane. "My photographs are really pure, unaffected photographs. I try to make them beautiful and seductive without the tricks of Photoshop and presets."
What Inspires Him: Given the nature of his work, people are, yes, Lane's biggest source of inspiration. "I'm not interested in shooting nature at all," he said. "There's something about people. I love interesting faces, and the stories within those faces."
Lane points to fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon as one of his biggest inspirations. "I love older photographs," said Lane, who also shoots in his fair share of black and white. "There's definitely remnants of classic photography in my work."
One of Lynn's biggest motivations, however, has nothing to do with photography. Three and a half years ago, the 45-year-old was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"Cancer put life in perspective really quickly," said Lane, who has not had any evidence of the disease since his surgery a month after his diagnosis. "It gave me the opportunity to step back and see what's really important -- it's not glory and fame, that comes and goes. What's really important is helping people."
To that end, Lane moved back to Houston to start Voices of Survivors, an arts foundation of sorts that gives survivors the opportunity to share their voices in video or the written word. So far, more than 400 people the world over have.
If Not This, Then What: Lane already has had his hands in a number of creative pursuits, so if he wasn't in the arts, he thinks he would fit right in with sociology. "I love people," he said. "I love watching and understanding them."
If Not Here, Then Where: Lane may have grown up here, but after living 18 years in the Big Apple, he also considers himself a New Yorker. So if he had to live anywhere else, it would be New York, no question.
"I don't see a point in living in any other city," said Lane. "But I love this city a lot," he was quick to add. "I love the community here."
What's Next: Lane is constantly in his studio, working seven days a week on dance rehearsal shoots, Voices of Survivors or his Portrait Project (just the day before we spoke, he had shot violinist Todd Reynolds). He also has some shows in the works, including a future collaboration with dance companies. Though one of his personal goals is to capture more of his quirky side -- the side that has all his portrait subjects pose with his cat, Orange Cat, for instance -- which doesn't always come through in his dramatic works.
"I'm kind of a weird dude," said Lane. "My photos look serious, but I have a funny sense of humor. One day I will shoot funny stuff."
Lynn Lane's photography is currently on view as part of "People: Contemporary Photographers Looking at Houston," at One Allen Center (1200 Smith) and Two Allen Center (500 Dallas), now through December 5. For information visit www.houston175.org. For more on Lane, visit www.lynnlane.com.
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