Interview with Lara Ostertag Photographer, Retoucher, Illustrator and Art Director

Name: Lara Ostertag          Role: Event organiser and Art Director / Retoucher     Age: 26        Favourite food:  Indian (hot) could eat 3 times a day for the rest of my life!!

Favourite Leeds Bar: Distrikt        Favourite Leeds Restaurant: Teppanyaki

Quote of the moment: Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes; Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Studied      at: Leeds     Metropolitan                                                                Course: Graphic Arts & Design


1.   What is today’s event all about? What is it? What’s happening how and why?

Today’s Fashion shoot is for Leeds Fashion Show; it’s a sneak preview to document some of their talented designers for the October 2011 fashion show.

2.   You’ve done very well yourself and now have your own successful business, what inspired to get into art directing?

I’d say it’s all come naturally for me, when I left university I landed my first real graphic design job creating night club flyers, at the time this was perfect for me, as time went on I realised using other photographers work wasn’t enough for me, I wanted more control over images, I decided to think up concepts and work with photographers to create my own art inspired fashion photography.

3. How did you become interested in fashion? Ever since I can remember raiding my mums extensive wardrobe, consisting of sequin jackets, vintage belts and the most desirable high heels a little girl can dream of. Tbh my mum has a huge inspiration within fashion. On the other hand so has my dad, he has always fuelled my passion for art; I believe fashion and art are just another way of life.

4.   What do you think is the biggest preconception that people have about the fashion industry?

People often think the fashion industry is expensive, bitchy and size zero models eat nothing but ice cubes and laxatives. But that’s just for small-minded minorities.

5.   What were your first job experiences?  

I Started a part time work placement with a company called Turnkey Creative Production, It was all very new to me and a little nervous of what to expect, however my first day, I was told to path around a Porsche car, the second day I had to do the same with a mountain sheep, this process carried on for about 2 weeks until the shading and reflections were correct for this one particular advert, all the while I was thinking what on earth am I doing, I became a little bored by the end, but suddenly all this hard work came together, it seemed to make sense. Finally my first piece of work, it was amazing. The next time I returned to work, sat on my desk was a copy of Porsche one magazine, my art dirctor shouted across the studio “not bad Croft! Look on the back cover”. And there it was, my painful two weeks of hard work printed on a beautiful glossy magazine, which was where it all started for me.

I was hired by an event called Vogue. The owner of the event loved a personal shoot I had directed; he loved the rustic, urban location. So the day proceeded, All was in order, set up in one of Leeds most prestigious hotels I had a team of hair and make up, four stunning 6ft female models, 2 male models. When there is a nock at the door… “ Oh just to let you know! We have fashion TV filming us today, they want to document the fashion shoot”. Oh dear I was thinking to my self, little did they know the rustic, urban location was a tramps nest at the back of some derelict city centre building, that was priceless to watch the models deal with the smell, interesting first commissioned shoot, I’d say.

6.   How does having your own business differ from working for a large corporation?

Funny you ask that, I actually have the best of both worlds atm, however there are major differences between the two. I’m currently working for a company called Smiffy’s as an Image Retoucher; it’s a great job and fantastic experience.

Having my own photography studio back in 2010 and working freelance was interesting too, your effectively your own boss and its up to you to get the work, its hard work and exciting at the same time. Having your own business means you have full control over everything and you make the decisions of where the brand will go, working for a major corporation sometimes you are limited as to how much you can change things within art direction, brand guidelines ect…

7. Can you describe the transition from graduating to where you are now? What has the process been like?

One hell of a manic networking whirlwind, business meetings, photo shoots and late night editing. The main transition from graduating is getting used to real life and getting firmly stuck in.

8. What has helped your business the most?

Making serious mistakes and learning from them ha ha no honestly that’s true but on a lighter note, networking, meeting people with like minds and surrounding myself with creative positivity.

9.   What do you find the most challenging and what do you like most about your work?

The most challenging is the weather, it’s so unpredictable. The end result of each project is the most satisfying, definitely!

Finally some words of wisdom please

Never eat yellow snow, always wear matching bra and knickers.

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One thought on “Interview with Lara Ostertag Photographer, Retoucher, Illustrator and Art Director

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